Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Get in Sync: Entrainment Mechanisms and Individual Characteristics Associated with Scripted-Sentence Learning in Aphasia

Quique Buitrago, Yina Magally (2021) Get in Sync: Entrainment Mechanisms and Individual Characteristics Associated with Scripted-Sentence Learning in Aphasia. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (2MB) | Preview


Script training is a well-established treatment for aphasia, but its mechanisms of action are not well understood, and it remains unclear which people with aphasia (PWA) benefit from it most. Understanding both treatment mechanisms and individual characteristics leading to scripted-sentence learning can improve treatment implementation and personalization. This dissertation investigates mechanisms and individual characteristics associated with scripted-sentence learning via a protocol adapted for Spanish-speaking PWA.

A hypothesized mechanism of action in script training is speech entrainment, the unison production of sentences by patient and clinician. Entrainment relies on integrating rhythmic features, but it is unclear how these features facilitate scripted-sentence learning. Therefore, aim 1 examined the effects of speech entrainment to two types of rhythmic-enhanced sentences on scripted-sentence learning: word-stress aligned beats, which should support lexical retrieval, and metronomic beats, which should enhance memorization via chunking. In addition, identifying individual characteristics associated with scripted sentence learning can improve treatment personalization. Therefore, aim 2 examined behavioral characteristics (language, attention, and rhythmic processing) and cortical tracking (the coupling of neural oscillations and rhythmic speech properties) and their association with scripted-sentence learning.

Fourteen Spanish-speaking PWA participated in a five-session learning paradigm using three conditions: word-stress aligned, metronomic, and control (no beats). Aim 1 analyses showed significant improvements over time across conditions, demonstrating successful scripted-sentence learning. Rhythmic-enhanced conditions engendered greater learning compared to the control condition, indicating that rhythmic features of speech entrainment are a key active ingredient for learning scripted sentences. The two rhythmic-enhanced conditions did not differ over time in terms of learning response, suggesting that both rhythmic manipulations may facilitate scripted-sentence learning.

In aim 2 analyses, participants with more severe aphasia showed higher scripted-sentence learning estimates given that they started at a lower learning intercept and benefited more from the support that speech entrainment provides when learning highly formulaic language. More severely impaired PWA also showed lower cortical tracking, indicating lower perception of rhythmic speech properties. Lastly, attentional deficits and most rhythmic processing measures were not strongly associated with scripted-sentence learning.

Finally, this is the first study to examine scripted-sentence learning in Spanish-speaking PWA, demonstrating cross-linguistic benefits of script training interventions.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Quique Buitrago, Yina Magallyymq1@pitt.eduymq10000-0001-9129-4742
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDickey, Michael
Committee MemberEvans, William
Committee MemberChandrasekaran,
Committee MemberOrtega-Llebaria,
Committee MemberZipse,
Date: 21 January 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 October 2020
Approval Date: 21 January 2021
Submission Date: 20 November 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 211
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aphasia, Spanish-speakers with aphasia, lexical access, rhythm in aphasia,
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2021 19:53
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2021 19:53


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item