Clinical Psychology Applications of Automated Syntax Analysis


Senior Design 2008: CIS 400/401

Tova Brooks

Advisor: Dr. Mitch Marcus


In this research we analyze the contribution of automatic syntax analysis to the field of clinical psychology. Using data from a cognitive study on patients with dementia, sentence grammar structures are extracted from transcribed speech samples and are analyzed for patterns of speech complexity. These are used to explore correlations be- tween cognitive impairment due to differing diagnoses of dementia and speech syntax. The hypothesis is that patients suffering from dementia affecting executive functioning will show significantly less use of syntactic phenomena which require a high level of log- ical organization. The method chosen is to employ tools that identify specific sentence structures and their rates of occurrence, and use these results to identify significant dif- ferences between the group with dementia and the control group. The results support this hypothesis, finding significant differences for certain syntactic patterns.