Psicothema was founded in Asturias (northern Spain) in 1989, and is published jointly by the Psychology Faculty of the University of Oviedo and the Psychological Association of the Principality of Asturias (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos del Principado de Asturias).
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Independent effects of imageability and grammatical class in synonym judgement in aphasia

Catherine Dubé1, Laura Monetta1, María Macarena Martínez-Cuitiño2 and Maximiliano A. Wilson1

1 CRIUSMQ and Université Laval (Canada) and
2 Favaloro University (Argentina)

Background: The grammatical class effect in aphasia, i.e. dissociated processing of words according to their respective grammatical class, has been attributed to either grammatical, lexical or semantic (i.e., imageability) deficits. This study explores the hypotheses of impaired semantic treatment as the source of the grammatical class effect in aphasia. Method: A synonym judgement task that includes nouns and verbs of high and low imageability has been administered to 30 Spanish-speaking patients suffering from receptive or productive aphasia and 30 controls. Results: Normal controls performed significantly better than aphasic patients. Although globally the productive aphasics performed significantly better than the receptive aphasics, grammatical class (nouns better than verbs) and imageability (high imageability better than low imageability) affected performance in both subgroups. No significant interaction emerged between these two factors. Conclusion: The results suggest that the grammatical class effect may emerge from semantic impairment and that it is –at least partially- independent of the imageability of words.

Efectos independientes de la imaginabilidad y la clase gramatical en juicios de sinonimia en pacientes afásicos. Antecedentes: el "efecto de clase gramatical" en la afasia, es decir, la disociación en el procesamiento de palabras según su clase gramatical, ha sido explicado por dificultades en el procesamiento a nivel gramatical, lexical o semántico (v.g., imaginabilidad). El presente trabajo explora las hipótesis de la alteración semántica como posible origen del efecto de clase gramatical en la afasia. Método: se administró una tarea de juicios de sinonimia con sustantivos y verbos de alta y baja imaginabilidad a 30 pacientes afásicos (productivos o receptivos) hispano-parlantes y 30 controles. Resultados: los controles obtuvieron puntuaciones significativamente mejores que los afásicos. Los afásicos de producción obtuvieron puntuaciones significativamente mejores que los receptivos. Los efectos de clase gramatical (sustantivos mejor que verbos) y de imaginabilidad (alta mejor que baja) afectaron ambos grupos de pacientes. La interacción entre imaginabilidad y clase gramatical no fue significativa. Conclusiones: los resultados sugieren que el efecto de clase gramatical puede surgir de una alteración semántica y que este efecto es independiente de la imaginabilidad.


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