Impaired morphological processing: insights from multiple sclerosis

Sami Boudelaa, Said Boujraf, Faouzi Belahcen, Mohamed Ben Zagmout, Ausaf Farooqui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease characterised by damage affecting large bundles of white matter fibres. Morphological segmentation of complex words (e.g. walked) into stems (walk) and suffixes (∼ed) is thought to depend on intact white matter. We tested the hypothesis that Arabic speaking patients with MS may lose the ability to segment morphologically complex words in a primed lexical decision task using word pairs that shared either a root and a semantic relationship (+R + S, e.g. “AnzAl”–“nuzwl” lowering-landing), a root without semantics (+R–S, e.g. “rtAbp”–“trtyb” monotony-tidying up),a semantic relationship (–R + S, e.g. “xyr”–“nEmp” good-grace), or a phonological relationship (–R + Phon, e.g. “mEdn”–“mEAnd” mineral-stubborn). While healthy controls showed priming by root regardless of semantics and inhibition by phonology, the patients showed facilitation by semantics (+R + S and –R + S), and inhibition by phonology (–R + Phon). These findings are used to adjudicate three contending models of lexical processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1237-1250
Number of pages14
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Morphological processing
  • auditory lexical decision
  • priming
  • white matter damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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