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Semantic short-term memory and its role in sentence processing: A replication

Authors
Journal
Brain and Language
0093-934X
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
89
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0093-934x(03)00300-6
Disciplines
  • Linguistics

Abstract

Abstract Previous studies have shown that an aphasic patient (AB) with a semantic short-term memory deficit (STM) had difficulties comprehending and producing sentences with structures that demanded the simultaneous retention of several individual word meanings ( Martin & Freedman, 2001a, 2001b; Martin & Romani, 1994; Martin, Shelton, & Yaffee, 1994). The present study provides a replication of these findings with an additional case (ML) who shows a striking dissociation between preserved semantic knowledge and disrupted semantic STM. ML performed poorly on comprehension tasks for sentences that required the retention of single word meanings across several intervening words. In contrast, he did not show an effect of intervening words on processing grammatical relations. ML had difficulty producing adjective–noun phrases, though able to produce the individual nouns and adjectives. These findings support the contention that there is a semantic retention capacity, involved in both comprehension and production, that is separate from semantic knowledge representations.

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