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Psycholinguistics & Neurolinguistics Lab


Although recent research has shown that successful interpretation of ambiguous sentences is linked to conflict-resolution skills, very little is known about the nature of the cognitive control abilities contributing to ambiguity resolution and sentence comprehension. Moreover, there is limited research on how ambiguity is resolved in clinical populations and how cognitive
treatment assists sentence comprehension in these populations.

The main goal of the proposed research is to investigate the cognitive control mechanisms that underlie the comprehension of ambiguity in language, with special attention paid to the performance of clinical populations with severe impairments in language and/or cognitive control skills (i.e. executive functions (EFs)). The specific objectives of the study are: (a) To investigate the contribution of EFs to the syntactic ambiguity resolution performance and sentence comprehension of both typical and atypical children/adolescents and adults. (b) To investigate the long-term benefits of behavioral cognitive treatment to different clinical groups in enhancing their linguistic abilities.

Βehavioral and eye-tracking tasks will investigate syntactic ambiguity resolution, sentence comprehension and non-verbal EFs in (a) children/adolescents diagnosed with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders, (b) children/adolescents diagnosed with Specific Language Impairment, (c) individuals diagnosed with Broca’s aphasia, (d) neuro-typical children/adolescents and (e) language-unimpaired adults.

The proposed research will have significant impact on science, society and economy. First, it introduces a cutting-edge perspective in the study of the interaction between language and cognition by providing fundamental knowledge about how syntactic ambiguity and sentence comprehension is managed by typical and atypical individuals. Second, it targets wellbeing in developmental and acquired language deficits, preventing, thus, undesirable consequences, such as social isolation and depression, which are associated with poorer quality of life. Last, it will provide substantial evidence regarding the efficacy of language treatments to justify insurance cover, thus, contributing towards cost saving in speech language services.