Consistency of the Effects of Rate of Speech on Brain-Damaged Adults' Comprehension of Narrative Discourse An experiment was carried out to assess the effects of slow and fast speech rate on comprehension of narrative discourse by aphasic, right-hemisphere-damaged, and non-brain-damaged adults. Aphasic subjects were divided into a high-comprehension group and a low-comprehension group based on their performance on the auditory comprehension subtests from the Boston ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1986
Consistency of the Effects of Rate of Speech on Brain-Damaged Adults' Comprehension of Narrative Discourse
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Linda E. Nicholas
    Veterans Administration Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN
  • Robert H. Brookshire
    Veterans Administration Medical Center and University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1986
Consistency of the Effects of Rate of Speech on Brain-Damaged Adults' Comprehension of Narrative Discourse
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1986, Vol. 29, 462-470. doi:10.1044/jshr.2904.462
History: Received October 10, 1985 , Accepted April 21, 1986
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1986, Vol. 29, 462-470. doi:10.1044/jshr.2904.462
History: Received October 10, 1985; Accepted April 21, 1986

An experiment was carried out to assess the effects of slow and fast speech rate on comprehension of narrative discourse by aphasic, right-hemisphere-damaged, and non-brain-damaged adults. Aphasic subjects were divided into a high-comprehension group and a low-comprehension group based on their performance on the auditory comprehension subtests from the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination. Subjects listened to l0 narrative stories. Half the stories were presented at slow speech rate (110–130 wpm) and half were presented at fast speech rate (190–210 wpm). After each story, subjects' comprehension and retention of stated and implied main ideas and details were tested. Brain-damaged subjects were tested twice, with at least 2 weeks intervening between sessions. Results demonstrated that salience had strong effects on comprehension for all groups of subjects—main ideas consistently were comprehended better than details. Directness affected subjects' comprehension of details, but not their comprehension of main ideas—stated details consistently were comprehended better than implied details. Non-brain-damaged subjects' comprehension was unaffected by differences in speech rate. Brain-damaged subjects comprehended details better in slow rate than in fast rate condition in the first test session, but the effects of rate on brain-damaged subjects' comprehension essentially disappeared by the second test. Furthermore, there were many instances in which individual subjects' failed to demonstrate rate effects exhibited by their group.

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