Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Speech-Language Pathology


Patricia Lara


Aim: The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the behavioral and electrophysiologic performance in two age groups of individuals with no history of brain damage responding to spoken sentence length messages with pauses of different durations inserted within the message with the use of Event-Related Potentials.

Pilot Study: A modified version of the Revised Token Test was used for the experimental task. All participants have not experienced any brain damage. The first group of adult participants consisted of three college age adults; ages 20-30 and the second consisted of three older adults, ages 50-60. Participants were randomly assigned to participate in a modified version of the RTT that contained pauses within the command of one, two, or three-second duration.

HypoThesis: It is hypothesized that:

1) The 2-second pause duration will result in a highest response accuracy rate in young and old participants.

2) There will be no difference in peak latency and amplitude of the N400 ERP component between the young and old participants.

3) The college age participants would demonstrate higher response accuracy compared to the older participants.

4) The college age participants would demonstrate decreased physical reaction time when compared to the older young participants.

Results: The one and two-second pause time groups had comparable rates in percentages of correct responses but overall the one-second-pause time showed a higher percentage of correct responses with a decreased reaction time for both sets of participants. It was hypothesized that the college age participants as a whole would produce a higher percent of correct responses with a decreased reaction time compared to the older participants. The results showed that this was true for the for the 1 and 2 second conditions but not for the three-second condition. It was hypothesized that there would be no difference between the groups in the electrophysiological measures, since all participants were participants with no brain damage. While individual differences were observed, all but two of the participants showed an N400 ERP component with the peak occurring between 350-650 ms after the onset of the auditory command.

Discussion: The current pilot study shows that individuals are highly variable in the way they process auditory information. The one-second-pause condition resulted in increased correct response rates and shorter reaction times for both college age and old participants. In addition, old participants with no brain damage performed similar to their college age counterparts.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

78 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Alexandrea Burciaga