Date Thesis Awarded

4-2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Neuroscience

Advisor

Jennifer Stevens

Committee Member

Paul Kieffaber

Committee Member

Denise Wade

Committee Member

Mark McLaughlin

Abstract

Aphasia is often the result of traumatic brain injury, stroke, brain disease or infection that has affected the language control centers of the brain. Here, event related potentials (ERPs) were used to explore differences in brain activation between an aphasic patient and controls in response to specific stimuli. Previous research indicates that aphasics have a dampened ERP response to different violations of sentence structure. Our aphasic patient, WD, and seven undergraduate controls were studied in three language processing tasks while continuous electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded. First, participants listened to a series of audio sentences that contained subject verb violations. Next, participants listened to a series of audio sentences that contained context mismatches. Finally, participants completed fill in the blank sentences by voicing the completing word aloud. The P600, N400, and P300 ERP components were examined in brain areas of interest, particularly in frontal regions. WD showed quantitative and qualitative ERP changes in all tasks revealing an atypical neural response despite typical behavioral performance.

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