Rational Adaptation in Using Conceptual Versus Lexical Information in Adults With Aphasia

Frontiers in Psychology 12 (2021)
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Abstract

The information theoretic principle of rational adaptation predicts that individuals with aphasia adapt to their language impairments by relying more heavily on comparatively unimpaired non-linguistic knowledge to communicate. This prediction was examined by assessing the extent to which adults with chronic aphasia due to left-hemisphere stroke rely more on conceptual rather than lexical information during verb retrieval, as compared to age-matched neurotypical controls. A primed verb naming task examined the degree of facilitation each participant group received from either conceptual event-related or lexical collocate cues, compared to unrelated baseline cues. The results provide evidence that adults with aphasia received amplified facilitation from conceptual cues compared to controls, whereas healthy controls received greater facilitation from lexical cues. This indicates that adaptation to alternative and relatively unimpaired information may facilitate successful word retrieval in aphasia. Implications for models of rational adaptation and clinical neurorehabilitation are discussed.

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