Inferencing Processes After Right Hemisphere Brain Damage: Maintenance of Inferences Purpose This study was designed to replicate and extend a previous study of inferencing in which some adults with right hemisphere damage (RHD) generated but did not maintain predictive inferences over time (M. Lehman-Blake & C. Tompkins, 2001). Two hypotheses were tested: (a) inferences were deactivated, and (b) selection of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2009
Inferencing Processes After Right Hemisphere Brain Damage: Maintenance of Inferences
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Margaret Lehman Blake
    University of Houston, TX
  • Contact author: Margaret Lehman Blake, University of Houston, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 100 Clinical Research Center, Houston, TX 77204-6018. E-mail: mtblake@uh.edu.
Article Information
Special Populations / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Traumatic Brain Injury / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2009
Inferencing Processes After Right Hemisphere Brain Damage: Maintenance of Inferences
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2009, Vol. 52, 359-372. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/07-0012)
History: Received January 18, 2007 , Revised June 25, 2007 , Accepted August 7, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2009, Vol. 52, 359-372. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/07-0012)
History: Received January 18, 2007; Revised June 25, 2007; Accepted August 7, 2008

Purpose This study was designed to replicate and extend a previous study of inferencing in which some adults with right hemisphere damage (RHD) generated but did not maintain predictive inferences over time (M. Lehman-Blake & C. Tompkins, 2001). Two hypotheses were tested: (a) inferences were deactivated, and (b) selection of previously generated inferences was slowed and not measurable with the original stimuli. Existing literature did not support one hypothesis over the other.

Method Fourteen adults with RHD and 14 with no brain damage (NBD) participated in this mixed-design study. Participants read short narratives that suggested a predictive inference. Reading times were obtained to assess inference generation, maintenance, and integration.

Results The majority of participants evidenced generation and maintenance of inferences. For the few who did not maintain inferences, participants with NBD always deactivated the inferences, whereas those with RHD demonstrated either deactivation or slowed selection. Adults with RHD were more likely to exhibit slowing in inference generation and integration.

Conclusions The results for inference maintenance differ from the original study in that most participants with RHD maintained inferences. Deactivation appeared in both groups, whereas slowed selection appeared to be an aberrant process related to RHD. Future work is needed to tease out the relationships between comprehension, working memory, and inferencing processes.

Acknowledgments
This project was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R03-DC00563-01A1. Kimberly Lesniewicz provided invaluable assistance in collection of the data. Jeffrey Williams assisted with the statistical analyses in earlier stages of the project.
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