Linguistic correlates of asymmetric motor symptom severity in Parkinson's Disease

Thomas Holtgraves, Patrick McNamara, Kevin Cappaert, Raymond Durso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Asymmetric motor severity is common in Parkinson's Disease (PD) and provides a method for examining the neurobiologic mechanisms underlying cognitive and linguistic deficits associated with the disorder. In the present research, PD participants (N = 31) were assessed in terms of the asymmetry of their motor symptoms. Interviews with the participants were analyzed with the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) program. Three measures of linguistic complexity - the proportion of verbs, proportion of function words, and sentence length - were found to be affected by symptom asymmetry. Greater left-side motor severity (and hence greater right-hemisphere dysfunction) was associated with the production of significantly fewer verbs, function words, and shorter sentences. Hence, the production of linguistic complexity in a natural language context was associated with relatively greater right hemisphere involvement. The potential neurobiological mechanisms underlying this effect are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the NIDCD : ‘Pragmatic Language Skills in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease’, 1R01DC007956-01A2 .


  • Language performance
  • Lateralization of language functions
  • Motor symptom asymmetry
  • Parkinson's Disease


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