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Issues in the Biology of Language and Cognition

This critical history of research on acquired language deficits (aphasias) demonstrates the usefulness of linguistic analysis of aphasic syndrome for neuropsychology, linguistics, and psycholinguistics. Drawing on new empirical studies, Grodzinsky concludes that the use of grammatical tools for the description of the aphasias is critical. The selective nature of these deficits offers a novel view into the inner workings of our language faculty and the mechanisms that support it.

Structure, Processing, and Disorders

This theoretical guide for speech-language pathologists, neuropsychologists, neurologists, and cognitive psychologists describes the linguistic and psycholinguistic basis of aphasias that are a result of acquired neurological disease. Caplan first outlines contemporary concepts and models in language processing and then shows in detail how these are related to language disorders.

Bringing models and methods of cognitive neuropsychology to bear on the study of dementing disorders, these contributions present sound evidence that diseases of the Alzheimer type compromise brain function in a highly selective manner, affecting some aspects of cognition while sparing others. Included are original case studies that explore in detail the nature of the linguistic, semantic, and visuoperceptual disorders in patients with degenerative dementias. The book pursues a number of themes with important ramifications for the study of higher mental functions.

A Case Study for the Modularity of Language

The case of Laura (also known as Marta), a young retarded woman with a testable IQ of 40, provides the opportunity to address key issues concerning the relationships between language and other mental functions as well and among the components of language use. The case shows that language can develop and function in spite of marked, pervasive cognitive deficiencies, and it provides clinical evidence in support of the notion that language is an independent cognitive ability.

Advances in cognitive science are leading to new knowledge of human language development and its underlying mechanisms. The contributions in this book apply recent advances in neurobiology, developmental neuropathology behavioral neurology, psycholinguistics, and computational models of learning and cognition to outstanding questions about the acquisition of language in humans, with special emphasis on dyslexia and related developmental disorders.

Edited by Lynn Nadel

This book covers recent research with neurobiological and cognitive features of Down syndrome. There has been notable progress in understanding the psychobiological concomitants of Down syndrome. New data have pinpointed selective neurological defects, and recent research has revealed that it is possible to work with the supposedly intractable, irreversible deficits accompanying Down syndrome. Surprising improvements in cognitive functions, including language, can be shown by children and even adolescents.

On the basis of a decade's work on syntactic-comprehension disorders, primarily in the Neurolinguistics Laboratory of the Montreal Neurological Hospital, David Caplan and Nancy Hildebrandt present an original theory of these disturbances of language function. They suggest in this wide-ranging study that syntactic structure breaks down after damage to the brain because of specific impairments in the parsing processes and a general decrease in the amount of computational space that can be devoted to that function.