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Cumulative Semantic Interference (CSI) can be repeatedly tested in a web-based paradigm in People with Aphasia showing stable CSI-effects over time.

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Poster B6 in Poster Session B, Tuesday, October 24, 3:30 - 5:15 pm CEST, Espace Vieux-Port

Hellmuth Obrig1,2,5, Marcus Töpel1,2, Kirsten Stark3,4,5, Frank Regenbrecht1,2, Rasha Abdel Rahman3,4,5; 1Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences; Department Neurology, 2University Hospital Leipzig; Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, 3Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 4Einstein Center f. Neurosciences, Charité Berlin, 5Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin School of Mind and Brain

Background: Rapid and precise selection of the correct word is one pillar of linguistic competence, which is regularly impaired in people with aphasia (PWA) (1). It is intuitive that semantic context eases retrieval by limiting the search space or pre-activating the correct lexical entry (e.g. ‘she sifts the ___[flour]). However, categorical semantic relations have been shown to slow down picture-naming (semantic interference). This has been studied by three major paradigms: picture-word-inference (PWI), blocked-cyclic-naming (BCN), and continuous-naming (CN). The latter is the most ecologically valid, in that categorical relations are embedded in a sequence of seemingly unrelated objects to be named, similar to typical clinical test and training material. For continuous-naming paradigms it is well attested that with each new member of a given category, naming latencies increase, indicating increasing competition during lexical selection (2) between lexical cohort members (cumulative semantic interference, CSI). Initial models to explain semantic interference rely on spreading activation eliciting competition (3); this has been refined assuming that naming latencies are a net-effect of both facilitatory and inhibitory semantic context effects (4). Extensive research in neurotypical participants has detailed the complex interplay between both aspects of semantic context, while studies in PWA are much rarer. This is the more surprising since semantic paraphasias by PWA (producing ‘dog’ when intending ‘cat’) support models of lexical interference. Methods: Here we use a continuous-naming paradigm in 20 PWA and 20 age-/ education-matched controls. PWA all had a lesion to the left hemisphere including parts of the extended language network. For the CN-paradigm participants named 160 colour photographs of items from 24 close categories (e.g. hoofed animals). The assessment was performed in our previously established web-based manner (5), and was repeated on day 2 and day 8 after the initial session. For an exploratory lesion-behaviour-analysis high-resolution MRIs were available in all PWA. Results: (i) Mild-moderate PWA are able to perform the web-based assessment. (ii) The CSI was ~ 22 ms per ordinal position, similar between groups and stable across repeated testing. (iii) In PWA increased error-rates paralleled the latency-based CSI effect. (iv) A cluster including frontal and parietal language areas correlated with larger CSI effects. Discussion: The option to use web-based and repetitive testing in PWA allows for the use of the paradigm to track changes due to adaptive plasticity after a lesion to the language network. Since confrontational naming is one of the most used therapeutic interventions in speech and language therapy (SLT), the effect of therapy may thus be evaluated over time. Extending the correlation between lesion size and site with the magnitude of the effect contributes to define a neuronal network, supporting both facilitatory and inhibitory semantic context effects in confrontational naming (6). Citations: (1) Schwartz, Philosophical transactions Royal Society London. B, Bio.sci. 369, 20120390 (2014). (2) Howard, et al., Cognition 100, 464-482 (2006). (3) Dell, Psychol Rev 93, 283-321 (1986). (4) Abdel Rahman & Melinger, Language, cognition and neuroscience, (2019). (5) Stark, et al., Behavior research methods, (2022). (6) Pino, et al. Neuroimage 246, 118767 (2022).

Topic Areas: Language Production, Speech-Language Treatment

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