Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Communication Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Kimberly G. Smith, Ph.D.


Individuals with aphasia (IWA) often exhibit challenges in single word reading as well as in reading comprehension. Recently, eye-tracking technology has become instrumental in delving deeper into reading behaviors. Specifically, it has illuminated the differences in word reading and comprehension abilities among aphasic English speakers. However, there is a noticeable scarcity of research focusing on these aspects among Chinese IWA. The current study aimed to contrast the abilities of Chinese IWA and neurotypical controls in reading single words, with an emphasis on types like regular, irregular, and pseudowords, and reading comprehension abilities. Further, this study investigated the patterns of eye movements during paragraph reading, paying special attention to measures such as fixation durations and saccades. This study also examined the association of these eye-tracking measures with reading comprehension across both cohorts.

The results indicate that the control group read more accurately across all word types compared to the IWA. The results also indicated that the IWA group exhibited longer fixation durations, more frequent fixations, and shorter saccade amplitudes when compared to the control group. Moreover, the control group consistently demonstrated superior reading comprehension accuracy across both language assessment and eye-tracking tasks. Notably, among the IWA, there were significant correlations between reading comprehension and both regular and irregular word reading. This association persisted even after rigorous statistical corrections. However, such correlations were absent in the control group. Further multiple regression analysis revealed that, even after controlling for education level and months post-stroke, a composite of regular and irregular word reading accounted for 60% and 58.5% of the variance in reading comprehension for the IWA and controls, respectively. The pronounced influence of regular and irregular word reading on comprehension in IWA suggests potential avenues for targeted reading strategies or interventions. In conclusion, this research highlights the complexity of reading comprehension, suggesting a need for a holistic approach in future studies to explore various factors influencing reading in Chinese IWA and neurotypical individuals.