Discourse comprehension refers to understanding beyond sentence level; it involves interaction between linguistic and cognitive processes. Previous research has found that comprehension abilities differ in people with aphasia when information is presented in auditory, written or combined auditory and written modalities. However, research has not considered aphasic individuals’ single word and sentence comprehension abilities. In normal participants comprehension is known to be affected by cognitive processes, yet no research has investigated the influence of ageing or cognition on comprehension abilities.
This project will investigate a difference in the comprehension abilities of aphasic and control participants, as well as the difference between age groups. Participants will include young adults (18-25), older adults (60-80) and people with aphasia. All participants will be exposed to passages of expositional text, divided into 3 conditions: auditory only, written only and combined auditory and written. Following completion of each passage, the participants will answer multiple choice questions. Passage review time, comprehension accuracy and efficiency will all be calculated. To assess cognition and single word and sentence level comprehension, the people with aphasia will be assessed in relation to their scores on the BCoS and spoken and written comprehension subtests of the CAT. To assess verbal working memory and attention the control participants will be assessed in relation to their scores on the attention subtest of the BCoS and the verbal n-back test. Participants will be asked to reveal their preferred condition and give reasoning.