Implicit word cues facilitate impaired naming performance: Evidence from a case of anomia

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Word-finding difficulties observed in some patients with anomia have been attributed to an insufficient activation of phonology by semantics. There are, however, few direct tests of this hypothesis. This paper reports the case of FR, who presented with anomic aphasia following temporal lobe epilepsy and a cavernoma in the left superior temporal lobe. His anomic deficit was characterized by: (1) no apparent associated semantic impairment; (2) item consistency for accuracy and errors across different administrations; (3) accuracy strongly correlated with word frequency; and (4) a partial, albeit weak, knowledge of the gender of unnamed items. We conducted a naming experiment in which target pictures were implicitly primed by briefly presented masked words. Results showed that the prior presentation of the written target name improved accuracy. When compared with unprimed trials, the presence of the primes also increased phonological errors and decreased semantic errors. We argue that automatic phonological activation derived directly from the implicit written primes interacted with the remaining phonological input from the picture's semantic representation leading to increased accuracy and a change in the balance of error types. © 2001 Academic Press.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-200
Number of pages15
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001