Ambiguity resolution in idiom comprehension in Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a workshop/seminar


This paper focuses on Figurative Language Comprehension in
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Specifically, up-to-date literature frequently employs
proverb comprehension tasks as a diagnostic tool for patients with early AD.
Proverbs have been used since abstract thinking was found to be impaired in AD.
However, the complex semantic nature of idioms, another form of figurative
language, may be more insightful and lead to a more accurate tool for early
diagnosis of AD. Specifically, idioms bear distinct semantic characteristics: they
can be familiar/ unfamiliar, ambiguous/ unambiguous, decomposable/ nondecomposable,transparent/opaque. Importantly, all idioms can be characterized
based on all these dimensions simultaneously. In the past, controversial findings
were presented when testing other clinical populations’ (e.g., patients with
Aphasia) comprehension of ambiguous idioms in specific. This suggested that
difficulties in ambiguity resolution might be indicative of impairment in higher
cognitive functions. Therefore, owing to idiom semantic complexity, and a
potential impairment in the comprehension of ambiguous idioms, idiom
comprehension tasks may serve as another indicator of early AD.
This paper seeks to (1) examine a potential effect of the idioms’ ambiguity
on the comprehension patterns of patients who suffer from AD, (2) explore
potential differences in comprehension between patients with AD and patients
with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and (3) explore whether the other idiom
semantic dimensions, i.e., decomposability and transparency, may affect
ambiguity resolution and therefore affect the patients’ comprehension patterns.
A systematic review will be conducted following the PRISMA approach.
Relevant information will be extracted including differences and similarities
across studies, especially focusing on patient profiles, types of idioms employed,
as well as the language comprehension patterns reported.
Period9 Dec 2022
Event titleNeurolinguistics Symposium: Language impairment in neurological disorders: From childhood to retirement
Event typePresentation
LocationGroningen , Netherlands
Degree of RecognitionInternational