Salt Lake City,
The purpose of this investigation is to further develop and test a treatment for
word-finding problems in aphasia. The treatment is designed to strengthen meaning
associations within categories of words (e.g., animals, tools, fruits). The treatment is
also designed to be used as a search strategy in instances of word-finding difficulty. The
study was devised to evaluate the extent to which treatment increases the ability to recall
trained, as well as untrained, words.
The purpose of the proposed research is to examine the effects of a semantically-oriented
treatment on word retrieval in persons with aphasia. The planned investigations are designed
to further the development of semantic feature training so that it may serve as not only a
mechanism for improving disrupted lexical semantic processing, but also as a compensatory
strategy during word retrieval failures. The proposed research will also address the issue
of exemplar typicality (Kiran & Thompson, 2003) by examining the effects of training typical
versus atypical exemplars of various categories with individuals with different types of
aphasia. A series of 24 single subject experimental designs will be conducted in the
context of a group design to address the following experimental questions:
- Will training atypical examples of living and artifact noun categories using semantic
feature training result in a significantly different outcome* than training typical
examples of living and artifact noun categories?
- Will training of one category of nouns using semantic feature training result in
improved retrieval of untrained categories of nouns?
- Will effects of semantic feature training vary across aphasia types?
- Will semantic feature training result in increased production of content during
- Will generalization to untrained typical examples vary across generalization lists that
are repeatedly exposed and those that are limited in exposure? (i.e., Does repeated
exposure appear to contribute to generalization?)
- Outcome measure will reflect acquisition, response generalization within category,
and response generalization across category effects of treatment.
- Diagnosis of Wernicke's, Broca's, or Conduction aphasia with significant
- At least 6 months post-onset of single, left-hemisphere stroke
- Minimum of high-school education
- Visual and auditory acuity sufficient for experimental tasks
- Nonverbal intelligence within normal limits
- Diagnosed mental illness other than depression
- Neurological condition other than that which resulted in aphasia
- History of alcohol or substance abuse
- Non-native English speaker
- Premorbid history of speech/language disorder