Abstract

Reductions in spoken language complexity have been associated with the onset of various neurological disorders. The objective of this study is to analyze whether similar trends are found in professional football players who are at risk for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. We compare changes in linguistic complexity (as indexed by the type-to-token ratio and lexical density) measured from the interview transcripts of players in the National Football League (NFL) to those measured from interview transcripts of coaches and/or front-office NFL executives who have never played professional football. A multilevel mixed model analysis reveals that exposure to the high-impact sport (vs no exposure) was associated with an overall decline in language complexity scores over time. This trend persists even after controlling for age as a potential confound. The results set the stage for a prospective study to test the hypothesis that language complexity decline is a harbinger of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalBrain and Language
Volume169
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

Fingerprint

Football
Linguistics
linguistics
Language
Interviews
Language Tests
model analysis
spoken language
trend
coach
interview
language
Nervous System Diseases
Sports
Prospective Studies
Linguistic Complexity
Players
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
League

Keywords

  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • Lexical density
  • Linguistic complexity
  • Natural language processing
  • Type-to-token ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Longitudinal changes in linguistic complexity among professional football players. / Berisha, Visar; Wang, Shuai; LaCross, Amy; Liss, Julie; Garcia-Filion, Pamela.

In: Brain and Language, Vol. 169, 01.06.2017, p. 57-63.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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