Inferencing Processes After Right Hemisphere Brain Damage: Effects of Contextual Bias Purpose Comprehension deficits associated with right hemisphere brain damage (RHD) have been attributed to an inability to use context, but there is little direct evidence to support the claim. This study evaluated the effect of varying contextual bias on predictive inferencing by adults with RHD. Method Fourteen adults ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2009
Inferencing Processes After Right Hemisphere Brain Damage: Effects of Contextual Bias
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Margaret Lehman Blake
    University of Houston, TX
  • Contact author: Margaret Lehman Blake, University of Houston, 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: Effects of Contextual Bias
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2009, Vol. 52, 373-384. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/07-0172)
History: Received July 24, 2007 , Accepted August 7, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2009, Vol. 52, 373-384. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/07-0172)
History: Received July 24, 2007; Accepted August 7, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 10

Purpose Comprehension deficits associated with right hemisphere brain damage (RHD) have been attributed to an inability to use context, but there is little direct evidence to support the claim. This study evaluated the effect of varying contextual bias on predictive inferencing by adults with RHD.

Method Fourteen adults with no brain damage (NBD) and 14 with RHD read stories constructed with either high predictability or low predictability of a specific outcome. Reading time for a sentence that disconfirmed the target outcome was measured and compared with a control story context.

Results Adults with RHD evidenced activation of predictive inferences only for highly predictive conditions, whereas NBD adults generated inferences in both high- and low-predictability stories. Adults with RHD were more likely than those with NBD to require additional time to integrate inferences in high-predictability conditions. The latter finding was related to working memory for the RHD group. Results are interpreted in light of previous findings obtained using the same stimuli.

Conclusions RHD does not abolish the ability to use context. Evidence of predictive inferencing is influenced by task and strength of inference activation. Treatment considerations and cautions regarding interpreting results from one methodology are discussed.

Acknowledgments
This project was supported by Grant R03-DC00563-01A1 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Kimberly Lesniewicz provided invaluable assistance in collection of the data.
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