chapter  20
22 Pages

How can Connectionist Cognitive Models of Language inforn Models of Language Rehabilitation?: Nadine Martin, Matti Laine, and Trevor A. Harley

Cognitive models of language theories have served well as frameworks within which to evaluate acquired language impairments. This is because brain damage does not result in a random malfunctioning of language abilities, but leads to systematic patterns of behavioral breakdown that respect the underlying regularities and rules of language. In recent years, the practice of interpreting aphasic deficits within a cognitive (or psycholinguistic) model has been extended to include recommendations for therapy approaches based on a subject's psycholinguistic profile. This endeavor began with great enthusiasm but was met almost immediately with many difficult challenges. It has become increasingly clear that the issues to be addressed in rehabilitation theory and practice are complex and require an understanding of mental processing that is not yet fully realized in cognitive models. In this chapter, we aim to acquaint the reader with some of the issues that need to be addressed in order to understand the cognitive underpinnings of rehabilitation and how scientists have used psycholinguistic models to approach these issues. With this background, we will discuss the recent emergence of connectionist psycholinguistic models that characterize dynamic aspects of language processing and their potential role in the development of theories of rehabilitation.