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Academic Paper

Title: A computational account of bilingual aphasia rehabilitation
Author: Swathi Kiran
Institution: Boston University
Author: Uli Grasemann
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Author: Chaleece Sandberg
Institution: Boston University
Author: Risto Miikkulainen
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Current research on bilingual aphasia highlights the paucity in recommendations for optimal rehabilitation for bilingual aphasic patients (Edmonds & Kiran, 2006; Roberts & Kiran, 2007). In this paper, we have developed a computational model to simulate an English–Spanish bilingual language system in which language representations can vary by age of acquisition (AoA) and relative proficiency in the two languages to model individual participants. This model is subsequently lesioned by varying connection strengths between the semantic and phonological networks and retrained based on individual patient demographic information to evaluate whether or not the model's prediction of rehabilitation matches the actual treatment outcome. In most cases the model comes close to the target performance subsequent to language therapy in the language trained, indicating the validity of this model in simulating rehabilitation of naming impairment in bilingual aphasia. Additionally, the amount of cross-language transfer is limited both in the patient performance and in the model's predictions and is dependent on that specific patient's AoA, language exposure and language impairment. It also suggests how well alternative treatment scenarios would have fared, including some cases where the alternative would have done better. Overall, the study suggests how computational modeling could be used in the future to design customized treatment recipes that result in better recovery than is currently possible.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 16, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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