A double dissociation between plural and possessive “s”: Evidence from the Morphosyntactic Generation test

Melissa D. Stockbridge, Alexandra Walker, William Matchin, Bonnie L. Breining, Julius Fridriksson, Argye E. Hillis, Gregory Hickok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People with aphasia demonstrate impaired production of bound inflectional morphemes, such as noun plurals and possession. They often show greater difficulty in marking possession versus plurality. Using a new tool for eliciting language, the Morphosyntactic Generation test, we assessed people with primary progressive aphasia and those in the acute and chronic phase following left hemisphere stroke. Clinical profiles were associated with different strengths and weaknesses in language production. Performance of the plural was stronger than possessive in group analyses. However, some individuals demonstrated the inverse pattern of performance. These participants provide counter-evidence to the theory that difficulty with marking possessives is purely the result of their greater cognitive-linguistic complexity and support a functional double dissociation between possessives and plurals. The deficits resulted from morphosyntactic impairment. Future work is needed to understand why plural and possessive markers were differently sensitive to neurological disorders of language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalCognitive neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Stroke
  • assessment
  • dementia
  • modifiers
  • plural
  • production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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