Vol. 14, No. 1
Syntactic processing in high- and low-skill comprehenders working under normal and stressful conditions
1Center for Research in Language and Department of Cognitive Science, UCSD
2Department of Psychology and the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
3Department of Psychology, Emory University
The degree to which syntactic and discourse comprehension rely on common or disparate processing systems is a matter of continuing debate in psycholinguistics, particularly in aphasia research. The present study examines possible relationships between discourse comprehension and auditory syntactic comprehension assessed under normal listening, single, and dual "stress" conditions. Results showed that stress can dramatically exaggerate differences in syntactic difficulty and that general discourse comprehension skill can significantly predict syntactic comprehension profiles. We discuss the results with reference to competing models of language development, comprehension, and breakdown.