A duck with four legs: Investigating the structure of conceptual knowledge using picture drawing in semantic dementia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Sasha Bozeat
  • Kim S. Graham
  • Karalyn Patterson
  • Helen Wilkin
  • Josephine Rowland
  • Timothy T. Rogers
  • John R. Hodges


In Study 1, six patients with semantic dementia were asked to produce drawings of concrete concepts from dictation of their names. The drawings were characterised by a loss of distinctive features. In the artefact domain, this feature loss resulted in representations that were increasingly box-like. In the living domain, as well as distinctive features being lost, there was a tendency for patients to include incorrect features that resulted in more familiar and "prototypical" representations. A second study included two further conditions in the drawing assessment: immediate and delayed copying of line drawings of concrete concepts. Analysis of the drawings produced by three patients with semantic dementia confirmed that overall performance was significantly influenced by the task condition (immediate>delayed) and severity of disease. The rate of intruding features, but not of omitted ones, was influenced by the domain of the item, with a greater proportion of intrusions in the living than in the nonliving domain. There was also a significant effect of feature distinctiveness on the proportions of these error types: Intruded features were most likely to come from the pool of properties that are shared across domain.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-47
Number of pages20
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003