Semantic Complexity in Treatment of Naming Deficits in Aphasia: Evidence From Well-Defined Categories Purpose Our previous work on manipulating typicality of category exemplars during treatment of naming deficits has shown that training atypical examples generalizes to untrained typical examples but not vice versa. In contrast to natural categories that consist of fuzzy boundaries, well-defined categories (e.g., shapes) have rigid category boundaries. Whether these ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 01, 2008
Semantic Complexity in Treatment of Naming Deficits in Aphasia: Evidence From Well-Defined Categories
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Swathi Kiran
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Lauren Johnson
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Contact author: Swathi Kiran, 1100, 1 University Station, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712. E-mail: s-kiran@mail.utexas.edu.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Aphasia / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 01, 2008
Semantic Complexity in Treatment of Naming Deficits in Aphasia: Evidence From Well-Defined Categories
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2008, Vol. 17, 389-400. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/06-0085)
History: Received December 26, 2006 , Revised June 5, 2007 , Accepted March 26, 2008
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2008, Vol. 17, 389-400. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/06-0085)
History: Received December 26, 2006; Revised June 5, 2007; Accepted March 26, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 25

Purpose Our previous work on manipulating typicality of category exemplars during treatment of naming deficits has shown that training atypical examples generalizes to untrained typical examples but not vice versa. In contrast to natural categories that consist of fuzzy boundaries, well-defined categories (e.g., shapes) have rigid category boundaries. Whether these categories illustrate typicality effects similar to natural categories is under debate. The present study addressed this question in the context of treatment for naming deficits in aphasia.

Methods Using a single-subject experiment design, 3 participants with aphasia received a semantic feature treatment to improve naming of either typical or atypical items of shapes, while generalization was tested to untrained items of the category.

Results For 2 of the 3 participants, training naming of atypical examples of shapes resulted in improved naming of untrained typical examples. Training typical examples in 1 participant did not improve naming of atypical examples. All 3 participants, however, showed weak acquisition trends.

Conclusions Results of the present study show equivocal support for manipulating typicality as a treatment variable within well-defined categories. Instead, these results indicate that acquisition and generalization effects within well-defined categories such as shapes are overshadowed by their inherent abstractness.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant DC006359-03 and a New Century Scholars Research Grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation to the first author. The authors wish to thank Karen Abbott, Brooke Ives, Sarah Delyria, and Chaleece Sandberg for their work on data collection and error analysis. The authors also thank the participants in the experiment for their patience and cooperation.
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