Spoken Language of Individuals With Mild Fluent Aphasia Under Focused and Divided-Attention Conditions The spoken language of individuals with mild aphasia and age-matched control subjects was studied under conditions of isolation, focused attention, and divided attention. A picture-description task was completed alone and in competition with a tone-discrimination task. Regardless of condition, individuals with aphasia performed more poorly on most morphosyntactic, lexical, and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1998
Spoken Language of Individuals With Mild Fluent Aphasia Under Focused and Divided-Attention Conditions
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura L. Murray
    Indiana University Bloomington
  • Audrey L. Holland
    National Center for Neurogenic Communication Disorders University of Arizona Tucson
  • Pelagie M. Beeson
    National Center for Neurogenic Communication Disorders University of Arizona Tucson
  • Contact author: Laura L. Murray, PhD, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405
Article Information
Language Disorders / Aphasia / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1998
Spoken Language of Individuals With Mild Fluent Aphasia Under Focused and Divided-Attention Conditions
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1998, Vol. 41, 213-227. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4101.213
History: Received March 15, 1996 , Accepted June 10, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1998, Vol. 41, 213-227. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4101.213
History: Received March 15, 1996; Accepted June 10, 1997

The spoken language of individuals with mild aphasia and age-matched control subjects was studied under conditions of isolation, focused attention, and divided attention. A picture-description task was completed alone and in competition with a tone-discrimination task. Regardless of condition, individuals with aphasia performed more poorly on most morphosyntactic, lexical, and pragmatic measures of spoken language than control subjects. Increasing condition complexity resulted in little quantitative or qualitative change in the spoken language of the control group. In contrast, the individuals with aphasia showed dual-task interference; as they shifted from isolation to divided-attention conditions, they produced fewer syntactically complete and complex utterances, fewer words, and poorer word-finding accuracy. In pragmatic terms, their communication was considered less successful and less efficient. These results suggest that decrements of attentional capacity or its allocation may negatively affect the quantity and quality of the spoken language of individuals with mild aphasia.

Acknowledgments
We thank Scott Jackson and Debbie Johnson of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Janet Hawley of St. Mary’s Hospital, andShannon Bryant of the University of Arizona for their helpin recruiting subjects. We would also like to thank Drs.Malcolm McNeil, Connie Tompkins, and Cynthia Thompson,and one anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments onan earlier version of this paper. This project was supportedin part by the National Center for Neurogenic Communication Disorders (Grant DC-01409).
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