Paul Newhouse
Last active: 3/3/2020

Organizational Structure Reduces Processing Load in the Prefrontal Cortex During Discourse Processing of Written Text: Implications for High-Level Reading Issues After TBI.

Cannizzaro MS, Dumas J, Prelock P, Newhouse P
Perspect Neurophysiol Neurogenic Speech Lang Disord. 2012 22 (2): 67-78

PMID: 24027604 · PMCID: PMC3767190 · DOI:10.1044/nnsld22.2.67

Adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI) can demonstrate marked difficulty producing discourse during story retell and story generation tasks. Changes in discourse production have been detailed in terms of fewer content units and infrequent use of story grammar elements essential for organization. One implication is that poor use of story grammar elements during discourse production may signal reduced ability to utilize these elements in other communication realms (e.g., reading comprehension). The neural architecture that supports discourse organization, primarily the medial prefrontal cortex, is particularly susceptible to damage secondary to acquired brain injury. In this event related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we describe cortical activation patterns of unimpaired readers as they are presented with discourse that is varied in terms of structural organization. The results suggest reading discourse with less structure is associated with increased cortical activity (e.g., higher processing demands) as compared to reading discourse with more traditional structural cues (e.g., story grammar). We discuss cortical areas implicated and potential implications for supporting discourse communication in persons following TBI.

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