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Of all publications in the section: 16
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Article
Ivanova M., Kuptsova S., Dronkers N. Aphasiology. 2017. Vol. 31. P. 265-281.

Background: Overall, there is growing consensus that working memory (WM) should be routinely assessed in individuals with aphasia as it can contribute significantly to their level of language impairment and be an important factor in treatment planning. However, there is still no consensus in the field as to which tasks should be used to assess WM in aphasia.  The two main alternatives are adapted complex span tasks and N-back tasks.  Both have been used interchangeably in previous studies of WM in aphasia, even though the correspondence between the two tasks has not been properly established.

Aims: The current study investigates the relationship between two WM tasks – complex span and N-back tasks – in a large sample of individuals with aphasia.  The relationship of these tasks to measures of language comprehension are also explored, as well as differences in performance patterns between individuals with non-fluent and fluent aphasia.

Methods & Resources: Forty-four participants with aphasia (non-fluent: n=27; fluent: n = 13; mixed: n = 4) were examined with a modified listening span task (Ivanova & Hallowell, 2014), an auditory verbal 2-back task, and a standardized Russian language comprehension test.

Outcomes & Results: Results revealed a moderate relationship between the two WM measures, but demonstrated a divergence in terms of their relationship to language comprehension.  Performance on the modified listening span task was related to language comprehension abilities, but performance on the 2-back task was not, suggesting that the two tasks primarily index different underlying cognitive mechanisms. Furthermore, the relationship between the modified listening span task and language comprehension was significant for individuals with non-fluent aphasia, but not for those with fluent aphasia.

Conclusions: Overall, the data demonstrate that while performance of individuals with aphasia was related on the two tasks, the two tasks cannot be substituted for one another without further inquiries into their underlying differences.

Added: Jun 5, 2016
Article
Buivolova O., Dragoy O., Vinter O. Aphasiology. 2018. Vol. 32. No. sup1: International Aphasia Rehabilitation Conference (IARC) September 2018. P. 32-33.

The Aphasia Rapid Test is a bedside test allowing to rate aphasia severity in the acute stroke period. This test is developed as a 26-point scale estimating the severity of both speech comprehension and production in less than 5 min. Previously, ART was used in English and French clinical practice. In Russian, there has been no analogous bedside screening scale for acute hospital units. Tests which were used before are detailed but time-consuming and effortful for individuals in the first days poststroke. ART is a reliable measure allowing to identify language and speech disorders (aphasia, dysarthria, or apraxia).

Added: Oct 24, 2018
Article
Maria V. Ivanova, Hallowell B. Aphasiology. 2013. No. 27. P. 891-920.

Background: There are a limited number of aphasia language tests in the majority of the world’s commonly spoken languages. Furthermore, few aphasia tests in languages other than English have been standardised and normed, and few have supportive psychometric data pertaining to reliability and validity. The lack of standardised assessment tools across many of the world’s languages poses serious challenges to clinical practice and research in aphasia. Aims: The current review addresses this lack of assessment tools by providing conceptual and statistical guidance for the development of aphasia assessment tools and establishment of their psychometric properties. Main Contribution: A list of aphasia tests in the 20 most widely spoken languages is included. The pitfalls of translating an existing test into a new language versus creating a new test are outlined. Factors to be considered in determining test content are discussed. Further, a description of test items corresponding to different language functions is provided, with special emphasis on implementing important controls in test design. Next, a broad review of principal psychometric properties relevant to aphasia tests is presented, with specific statistical guidance for establishing psychometric properties of standardised assessment tools. Conclusions: This article may be used to help guide future work on developing, standardising and validating aphasia language tests. The considerations discussed are also applicable to the development of standardised tests of other cognitive functions.

Added: Jun 11, 2013
Article
Menn L., Bastiaanse R. Aphasiology. 2016. Vol. 30. No. 11. P. 1169-1173.
Added: Jun 21, 2018
Article
Dragoy O., Bergelson M., Iskra E. et al. Aphasiology. 2016. Vol. 30. No. 1. P. 1-22.

Background: Impairments in spatial processing show themselves not only in gnosis and praxis, but also in the language domain. Luria (1947) considered this deficit a characteristic feature of so-called semantic aphasia and explained the impaired comprehension of semantically reversible constructions in those patients by a disorder of the common spatial neuropsychological factor grounded in the temporal-parietal-occipital regions of the brain.

Aims: The aim of the present study was to experimentally test the possibility that individuals with semantic aphasia experience specific difficulties in extracting spatial relations from a linguistic form and rely instead on basic sensorimotor stereotypes to interpret reversible linguistic constructions.

Method & Procedures: Six individuals with semantic aphasia, 12 people with motor aphasia, 12 people with sensory aphasia, and 12 non-brain-damaged individuals performed a sentence-picture matching task; all participants were native speakers of Russian. Two types of reversible sentences were tested, each representing a direct and an inverted word order: prepositional (The boy is putting the bag in the box vs. The boy is putting in the box the bag) and instrumental (The grandmother is covering the scarf with the hat vs. The grandmother is covering with the hat the scarf). Irreversible sentences (The boy is putting the apple in the bag) served as control stimuli.

Outcomes & Results: Each group of participants performed better on irreversible than on reversible sentences. Within reversible sentences, an interaction between word order and construction type was found in individuals with semantic aphasia only. They performed more accurately in prepositional constructions with direct word order and in instrumental constructions with inverted word order – both are related to sensorimotor stereotypes reflecting interaction with objects in the real world. Although no such clear dissociation was found in other aphasia types, correlation analysis revealed the same effect in some participants with motor and sensory aphasia.   

Conclusions: The findings confirm the importance of situational context for linguistic processing. First, if knowledge of the real world supports the unique interpretation of grammatical markers, it enhances processing in all tested cohorts of participants. Second, people with semantic aphasia consistently use sensorimotor stereotypes to compensate for their linguistic deficits. Since this was also found in some participants with other aphasia types, such a sensorimotor strategy might depend not on the damage to temporal-parietal-occipital areas as such, but on the intactness and overuse of left premotor regions suggested to be critical for motor and symbolic sequential processing (Luria, 1947).

Added: Jul 15, 2015
Article
Linnik A., Bastiaanse R., Höhle B. Aphasiology. 2016. Vol. 30. No. 7. P. 765-800.

Background: Discourse abilities play an important role in the assessment, classification, and therapy outcome evaluation of people with aphasia. Discourse production in aphasia has been studied quite extensively in the last 15 years. Nevertheless, many questions still do not have definitive answers.

Aims: The aim of this review is to present the current situation in the research on a number of crucial aspects of discourse production in aphasia, focusing on methodological progress and related challenges. This review continues the discussion of the core themes in the field, aiming to render it as up-to-date as possible.

Main Contribution: The review focuses on a number of unexplored theoretical issues, specifically, the interface between micro- and macrolinguistic abilities, and the relationship between linguistic competence and communicative success in aphasia. The emphasis on theoretical challenges, along with the thorough discussion of methodological problems in the field, makes this review a starting point and a comprehensive information source for researchers planning to address language production in people with aphasia.

Conclusion: Although the picture is not yet complete, recent advancements lead to a better understanding of the processes involved in aphasic discourse production. Different approaches provide insights into the complex multifaceted nature of discourse-level phenomena; however, methodological issues, including low comparability, substantially slow down the progress in the field.

Added: Jun 21, 2018
Article
Ivanova E., Skvortsov A. Aphasiology. 2019. Vol. 33. No. 19. P. 1114-1136.

ABSTRACT

Background: Two approaches to the explanation of dissociations of symptoms were established in the history of neuropsychology: through the structural changes and through the changes of activity form. The theoretical origins of these explanations are related to the two methodological traditions in psychology: elementaristic and holistic. In this study, the advantages of the elementaristic and the holistic approach to the explanation of dissociated neuropsychological agraphia symptoms are discussed.

Aims: The goal of our study was to reveal the variability of writing disorders following sensory agraphia depending on performance in writing tasks of different types. We hypothesise that manifestations of psychological disorders in Wernicke’s agraphia vary in different types of writing tasks:

1.1. We expect the dissociated symptoms of Wernicke’s agraphia to vary in tasks that actualise different culturally defined functions of writing;

1.2. Tasks actualising culturally determined functions of writing would lead to specific differences of symptoms in Wernicke’s agraphia compared with the performance on traditional diagnostic tests.

Methods & Procedures: The study involved 29 individuals with Wernicke’s agraphia due to left hemisphere stroke in the basin of the left middle cerebral artery. To identify agraphia symptoms, tasks traditionally applied in neuropsychological diagnostics of writing were used, representing typical cultural-historical functions of writing (communicative, mnestic, and regulatory). Analysis with the Chi-square Friedman test showed that the differences for all types of error rates were statistically significant (p = .001), which allowed the Wilcoxon test for further pairwise comparison ratios of errors in written tasks.

Outcomes & Results: Two approaches to the explanation of dissociations of symptoms have been used – through structural changes (elementaristic approach) and changes of a person’s activity form (holistic approach). The advantages of the holistic approach were the most evident while analysing the significant prevalence of errors in orthography in the regulatory task compared with the task of sentence composition. These tasks did not differ in their structural components, so the elementaristic approach did not explain the resulting dissociation. The explanation of this phenomenon comes from the psychological importance of the cultural function of writing using a permissive psychological strategy.

Conclusions: The holistic approach can be a valuable complement to the more widely utilised elementaristic approach. Despite the fact that a holistic approach is less common in modern clinical neuropsychology, its advantages are evident in the analysis of dissociation symptoms within the same syndrome when performing identical tasks in a set of involved neuropsychological components.

Added: Jul 5, 2019
Article
Martínez-Ferreiro S., Bastiaanse R., Boye K. Aphasiology. 2019. P. 1-16.

Background: Functional and usage-based theories of language are gaining increasing influence in linguistics. These theories understand language structure as underpinned by domain-general neurocognitive capacities and as shaped by usage patterns and the function of language as a means for communication. Accordingly, they entail an approach to aphasia which differs markedly from established ones based on formal theories.

Aims: Based on an outline of central claims in functional and usage-based theories, we aim to show how such theories can cast new light on aphasia.

Methods & Procedures: We focus on two strands of functional and usage-based aphasiological research: 1) research on frequency effects in aphasic speech, 2) and research on the grammatical-lexical distinction and its significance for the description of aphasic speech and the understanding of the causes of aphasia. We review available studies that fall within the two aforementioned strands of research, assessing their strengths and limitations.

Outcomes & Results: Usage-based methodologies are currently being developed that allow for fast quantification of the degree of formulaicity of a language sample and may thus be helpful in ascertaining the role of fossilized multiword expressions in aphasia. In line with central claims in usage-based linguistics, the first results of studies employing these methodologies have shown that frequency and collocation strength facilitate the retrieval of multiword expressions in a way that resembles the way in which lexical frequency facilitate retrieval of isolated words.

A recent functional and usage-based theory understands the grammatical-lexicon distinction as a means for prioritizing parts of complex linguistic messages. Defining grammatical items as items that are discursively secondary (background) and dependent on host items, this theory entails an account of grammatical deficits which bridges the gap between existing structure-oriented and processing-oriented accounts. The theory entails word-class general criteria that allow fine-grained classification of linguistic items as grammatical or lexical. Cross-linguistic studies of verb, pronoun and preposition production show that this classification is significant for the description of aphasic language.

Conclusions: Functional and usage-based studies of aphasia are still sparse, but show promising results. This approach seems especially qualified for understanding 1) the neurocognitive causes of various types of aphasia, 2) the variability across languages, communicative settings (including tasks and modalities), groups of individuals and individuals, which is characteristic of aphasic speech, and 3) the link between aphasia symptoms and the basic need and challenge for people with aphasia: to remain a social being by communicating with other social beings.

Added: Oct 18, 2019
Article
Soloukhina O., Ivanova M. Aphasiology. 2018. Vol. 2. No. 32. P. 183-203.

Background: There is growing evidence that verbs are often more difficult to process than nouns and that verb retrieval is more commonly affected in aphasia. However, existing observations are largely based on naming and semantic judgment tasks. The extent to which this processing difficulty is modality-general has yet to be established. In addition, most of the present language batteries do not allow direct comparison between noun and verb comprehension deficits. To fill this gap, a test was developed for the assessment of noun and verb lexical-semantic comprehension.

Aims: The current study investigates whether verb processing difficulties are modality-general by administering novel balanced noun and verb comprehension tasks to participants with and without aphasia.

Method: In this study we directly compare the difficulty of comprehension of verbs versus nouns in a group of participants with aphasia (PWA, n = 32) and non-brain-damaged, age-matched participants (NBD, n = 20). The word comprehension task was implemented on a tablet measuring accuracy and reaction times (RTs). Participants were required to listen to an aurally presented word and match it to one of four pictures (a target and three distractors: semantic, phonological and irrelevant) by tapping on it with the non-dominant hand. In total, 30 nouns and 30 verbs were presented.  The verbal stimuli in the two tasks were matched on relevant psychometric properties such as familiarity, age of acquisition, subjective visual complexity, imageability, image agreement and frequency.

Results: Both groups experienced more difficulties in the verb comprehension task, indicated by lower accuracy and longer RTs in PWA and longer RTs in NBD. PWA who were performing the task within normal limits (i.e., demonstrated no difference in accuracy compared to the control group) still showed significantly longer RTs in the verb task than controls.  Also, PWA who demonstrated similar accuracy in both tasks had longer RTs in the verb task relative to the noun task. The pattern was general and no differences were observed in performance between participants with fluent and non-fluent aphasia types. Moreover, the observed dissociations in RTs were greater for PWA than for NBD, indicating that a damaged language system experiences even more difficulties in processing verbs.  

Conclusions: Overall, the study demonstrated the relative difficulty of verb processing in a comprehension task, supporting the hypothesis that verb processing difficulties are modality-general. The new test allows researchers to compare performance on noun and verb comprehension and registers even subtle differences by measuring RTs. Background: There is growing evidence that verbs are often more difficult to process than nouns and that verb retrieval is more commonly affected in aphasia. However, existing observations are largely based on naming and semantic judgment tasks. The extent to which this processing difficulty is modality-general has yet to be established. In addition, most of the present language batteries do not allow direct comparison between noun and verb comprehension deficits. To fill this gap, a test was developed for the assessment of noun and verb lexical-semantic comprehension.

Aims: The current study investigates whether verb processing difficulties are modality-general by administering novel balanced noun and verb comprehension tasks to participants with and without aphasia.

Method: In this study we directly compare the difficulty of comprehension of verbs versus nouns in a group of participants with aphasia (PWA, n = 32) and non-brain-damaged, age-matched participants (NBD, n = 20). The word comprehension task was implemented on a tablet measuring accuracy and reaction times (RTs). Participants were required to listen to an aurally presented word and match it to one of four pictures (a target and three distractors: semantic, phonological and irrelevant) by tapping on it with the non-dominant hand. In total, 30 nouns and 30 verbs were presented.  The verbal stimuli in the two tasks were matched on relevant psychometric properties such as familiarity, age of acquisition, subjective visual complexity, imageability, image agreement and frequency.

Results: Both groups experienced more difficulties in the verb comprehension task, indicated by lower accuracy and longer RTs in PWA and longer RTs in NBD. PWA who were performing the task within normal limits (i.e., demonstrated no difference in accuracy compared to the control group) still showed significantly longer RTs in the verb task than controls.  Also, PWA who demonstrated similar accuracy in both tasks had longer RTs in the verb task relative to the noun task. The pattern was general and no differences were observed in performance between participants with fluent and non-fluent aphasia types. Moreover, the observed dissociations in RTs were greater for PWA than for NBD, indicating that a damaged language system experiences even more difficulties in processing verbs.  

Conclusions: Overall, the study demonstrated the relative difficulty of verb processing in a comprehension task, supporting the hypothesis that verb processing difficulties are modality-general. The new test allows researchers to compare performance on noun and verb comprehension and registers even subtle differences by measuring RTs. 

Added: Oct 18, 2017
Article
Ivanova M., Hallowell B. Aphasiology. 2009. Vol. 23. No. 5. P. 544-556.
Added: Nov 11, 2012
Article
Ivanova M., Dragoy O., Kuptsova S. et al. Aphasiology. 2015. Vol. 29. No. 6. P. 645-664.

There is converging evidence that there are cognitive nonlinguistic deficits in aphasia and that these cognitive nonlinguistic deficits tend to exacerbate the language impairment of persons with aphasia. Still much remains unknown about joint impact of various cognitive mechanisms or their differential influence on language processing depending on the type of aphasia. The goal of the present study was to investigate the simultaneous influence of different cognitive mechanisms (memory, attention, speed of processing) on auditory language comprehension in individuals with fluent and non-fluent aphasia. 

Added: Nov 16, 2013
Article
Jap B. A., Martinez-Ferreiro S., Bastiaanse R. Aphasiology. 2016. P. 1325-1340.

Background: Comprehension of reversible sentences that have derived word order has often been reported as impaired in agrammatic aphasia. Most accounts of this phenomenon refer to the syntactic differences between derived and base word order of the arguments. However, it has been demonstrated that in agrammatic spontaneous speech in standard Indonesian (SI) passives are produced at a rate that is proportional to that of healthy speakers. The main difference between passives in SI and in other languages is the frequency with which passives are used: passives in SI are highly frequent. The high frequency can be explained by the fact that passives are used for politeness reasons, saliency of the passive morphology, earlier acquisition, and formal simplicity of the passive structure.

Aims: The purpose of the current study is to investigate comprehension of the passive as a derived structure in SI and the influence of frequency.

Methods & Procedures: A sentence-to-picture matching task was developed to test four reversible sentence types (active, passive, subject cleft and object cleft). There are three variables that are of interest, that is, word order, embedding and relative frequency of structures. Eleven agrammatic speakers classified as suffering from Broca’s aphasia were tested.

Outcomes & Results: The passive sentences were comprehended equally well as the active sentences. Embedding had limited effects: subject clefts were understood as well as actives and passives. Object clefts, however, were understood poorly and significantly worse than the three other sentence types.

Conclusions: The sentence comprehension deficit pattern shown in SI individuals with Broca’s aphasia introduces frequency of a syntactic structure as an additional factor to consider. Whether frequency or pragmatic constraints protects against erosion of the passive in Broca’s aphasia in SI remains an open question.

Added: Jun 21, 2018
Article
Malyutina S., Iskra E., Sevan D. et al. Aphasiology. 2014. Vol. 28. No. 10. P. 1178-1197.

Background: A verb’s instrumentality and name relation to an associated instrument noun are among the factors influencing verb retrieval in speakers with aphasia. Previous data on the effects of these factors are equivocal, possibly due to language- and taskspecific factors. Aims: The present study aimed to investigate the nature of the instrumentality and verbnoun name relation effects by retesting them in a large sample of Russian-speaking individuals with fluent and non-fluent aphasia. Methods & Procedures: Forty Russian-speaking individuals with aphasia (twenty with fluent and twenty with non-fluent aphasia) and twenty controls performed an action naming task. Overall accuracy scores and qualitative error types were analysed. Outcomes & Results: A positive effect of instrumentality was found in both groups of individuals with aphasia. A negative effect of verb-noun name relation was found in non-fluent aphasia and was larger for verbs with a smaller overlap with the instrument noun. In both aphasia groups, semantically related errors were more numerous for noninstrumental than instrumental verbs, whereas phonological errors were more numerous for name-related than non-name-related instrumental verbs. Conclusions: The positive effect of instrumentality on verb retrieval may be attributed to a facilitatory effect of richer conceptual representations of instrumental verbs. The negative effect of name relation on verb retrieval may be explained by interference of the phonological form of the instrument noun. These factors influence verb retrieval in aphasia and should be taken into account when developing testing/treatment materials and stimuli for experimental studies.

Added: Mar 24, 2015
Article
Bastiaanse R., Wieling M., Wolthuis N. Aphasiology. 2016. P. 1221-1239.

Background: Word retrieval in aphasia involves different levels of processing—lemma retrieval, grammatical encoding, lexeme retrieval, and phonological encoding—before articulation can be programmed and executed. Several grammatical, semantic, lexical, and phonological characteristics, such as word class, age of acquisition, imageability, and word frequency influence the degree of success in word retrieval. It is, however, not yet clear how these factors interact. The current study focuses on the retrieval of nouns and verbs in isolation and in sentence context and evaluates the impact of the mentioned factors on the performance of a group of 54 aphasic speakers.

Aims: The main aim is to measure the effect of word frequency on the retrieval of nouns and verb by disentangling the influence of word class, age of acquisition, imageability, and lemma and lexeme frequencies on word retrieval in aphasia.

Methods & Procedures: Four tests for retrieval of nouns, verbs in isolation, and infinitives and finite verbs were administered to 54 aphasic speakers. The influence of lemma and lexeme frequency, Age of Acquisition on the word retrieval abilities was analysed.

Outcomes and Results: Word class, age of acquisition, and imageability play a significant role in the retrieval of nouns and verbs: nouns are easier than verbs; the earlier a word has been learned and the more concrete it is, the easier it is to retrieve. When performance is controlled for these factors, lemma frequency turns out to play a minor role: only in object naming does it affect word retrieval: the higher the lemma frequency of a noun, the easier it is to access. Such an effect does not exist for verbs, neither on an action-naming test, nor when verbs have to be retrieved in sentence context. Lexeme frequency was not found to be a better predictor than lemma frequency in predicting word retrieval in aphasia.

Conclusions: Word retrieval in aphasia is influenced by grammatical, semantic, and lexical factors. Word frequency only plays a minor role: it affects the retrieval of nouns, but not of verbs.

Added: Jun 21, 2018
Article
Ivanova M., Hallowell B. Aphasiology. 2012. Vol. 26. No. 3-4. P. 556-578.

Working memory (WM) is essential to auditory comprehension; thus, understanding of the nature of WM is vital to research and clinical practice to support people with aphasia.  A key challenge in assessing WM in people with aphasia is related to the myriad deficits prevalent in aphasia, including deficits in attention, hearing, vision, speech, and motor control of the limbs.  Eye-tracking methods augur well for developing alternative WM tasks and measures in that they enable researchers to address many of the potential confounds inherent in tasks traditionally used to study WM.  Additionally, eye-tracking tasks allow investigation of trade-off patterns between storage and processing in complex span tasks, and provide on-line response measures.  The goal of the study was to establish concurrent and discriminative validity of a novel eye movement WM task in individuals with and without aphasia.  Additionally, we aimed to explore the relationship between WM and general language measures, and determine whether trade-off between storage and processing is captured via eye-tracking measures. Participants with (n=28) and without (n=32) aphasia completed a novel eye movement WM task.  This task, incorporating natural response requirements, was designed to circumvent potential confounds due to concomitant speech, motor, and attention deficits.  The task consisted of a verbal processing component intermixed with presentation of colors and symbols for later recall.  Performance on this task was indexed solely via eye movements.  Additionally, participants completed a modified listening span task that served to establish concurrent validity of the eye-tracking WM task.  Performance measures of the novel eye movement WM task demonstrated concurrent validity with another established measure of WM capacity – the modified listening span task.  Performance on the eye-tracking task discriminated effectively between participants with and without aphasia.  No consistent relationship was observed between WM scores and Western Aphasia Battery aphasia quotient and subtest scores for people with aphasia.  Additionally, eye tracking measures yielded no trade-off between processing and storage for either group of participants. Results support the feasibility and validity of employing a novel eye-tracking method to index WM capacity in participants with and without aphasia.  Further research is required to determine the nature of the relationship between WM, as indexed through this method, and specific aspects of language impairments in aphasia.

Added: Nov 11, 2012
Article
Dragoy O., Bastiaanse R. Aphasiology. 2010. P. 28-55.

Verb production has been shown to be impaired in individuals with agrammatic Broca’s aphasia. Several theories linked this deficit to problems with the implementation of grammatical information the verb contains. In particular, the number and the type of arguments associated with a verb were suggested as causes of production difficulties in agrammatic speakers. The influence of these two factors on agrammatic production has earlier been investigated in English and Dutch (Thompson, 2003; Bastiaanse & Van Zonneveld, 2005).

Added: Nov 11, 2012