Poster F50, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
ERP exploration of semantic organization for abstract and concrete words in bilinguals and persons with aphasia
Erika Exton1, Chaleece Sandberg1; 1Penn State University
No study to date has compared ERP data from unbalanced bilinguals and persons with aphasia (PWA) during abstract and concrete word processing, although there is reason to suspect similar processing of the weaker language in bilinguals and the disrupted language in PWA. Both unbalanced bilinguals and monolingual English PWA may have weaker connections between the lexical form in English and the conceptual representation. Thus, we tested 25 Dutch-English unbalanced bilinguals and 11 monolingual English PWA in both a lexical decision task and a semantic association task (modified from Crutch et al., 2009). The lexical decision task included 60 concrete words, 60 abstract words, and 120 non-words. The semantic relatedness task had four conditions, each with 40 word pairs: concrete similar, concrete associated, abstract similar, abstract associated. An unrelated condition for each word type (80 word pairs) was also included. Using repeated measures ANOVAs with paired t-tests, we found the expected concreteness effect in the lexical decision task – significantly greater N400 for concrete than abstract words – in the Dutch-English bilinguals, but not in the PWA. In the semantic association task, both PWA and Dutch-English bilinguals showed the expected pattern: a larger difference in the N400 in the similarity context between abstract and concrete words and a reversed (though smaller) difference in the association context between abstract and concrete words. However, for PWA the results did not reach significance. These results support the theory that abstract words are organized associatively while concrete words are organized taxonomically (Crutch et al., 2009).
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Semantic