Brain Damage and Prosody Errors Reconsidered Reply to Heilman Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor  |   December 01, 1993
Brain Damage and Prosody Errors Reconsidered
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Diana Van Lancker
    Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and Department of Neurology University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • John J. Sidtis
    Department of Neurology University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Article Information
Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Traumatic Brain Injury / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Letters to the Editor
Letter to the Editor   |   December 01, 1993
Brain Damage and Prosody Errors Reconsidered
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1993, Vol. 36, 1191-1192. doi:10.1044/jshr.3606.1191b
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1993, Vol. 36, 1191-1192. doi:10.1044/jshr.3606.1191b
Heilman’s use of the term “failure to replicate” is puzzling. Our right-hemisphere patients did, in fact, perform significantly worse than neurologically normal control subjects in an affective-prosodie recognition task. Further, like several other researchers in this area, we found that subjects with left-hemisphere damage also performed significantly worse than neurologically normal controls (Van Lancker & Sidtis, 1992). As we reviewed in our paper, disturbance of both the expression and comprehension of prosody has been found in association with cortical damage to either cerebral hemisphere, as well as to subcortical structures. In our review of the literature on prosodie comprehension, of 12 papers dealing with changes after unilateral brain damage, six reported significant changes after either right- or left-hemisphere damage. Of five others that did not report bilateral effects, all failed to examine the effects of left-hemisphere damage. Given these facts, Heilman appears to be referring not so much to a failure to reproduce an experimental observation, but rather to a failure to confirm a view of prosody as strictly lateralized in the brain. It is symptomatic of this topic that when a principal proponent of strict right- hemisphere specialization for affective-prosodie function (Ross, Anderson, & Morgan-Fisher, 1989) first described two left-hemisphere damaged patients after previously reporting only on right-hemisphere damage, the term “crossed aprosodia” was proposed prematurely.
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