Event Knowledge and Verb Knowledge Predict Sensitivity to Different Aspects of Semantic Anomalies in Aphasia

  • Michelle Colvin
  • Tessa Warren
  • Michael Walsh DickeyEmail author
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 48)


There has been considerable debate as to whether linguistic and world knowledge are dissociable and make distinguishable contributions to language comprehension (e.g. Hagoort et al. in Science 304:438–441, 2004; Warren & McConnell in Bulletin & Review 14:770–775, 2007). To address this question, we related people with aphasia’s performance on independent tests of event knowledge and linguistic knowledge to their sensitivity to violations of selectional restrictions and possibility in a self-paced reading task, using materials from Warren et al. (Lang Cognit Neurosci 30(8):1–8, 2015). Results suggested that better performance on a task designed to index verb argument structure knowledge predicted increased sensitivity to selectional restriction violations, whereas better performance on a task designed to index event knowledge predicted increased sensitivity to possibility violations. Consistent with previous findings, this pattern provides evidence that behavioral responses to violations of linguistic and event knowledge may diverge. The relationships between sensitivity to violations and task performance additionally support the assumption that selectional restrictions are a feature of verb knowledge, whereas possibility is a feature of event knowledge.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Colvin
    • 1
  • Tessa Warren
    • 1
  • Michael Walsh Dickey
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Learning Research and Development CenterUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Communication Science and DisordersUniversity of Pittsburgh, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemPittsburghUSA

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