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Fundamental deficits of auditory perception in Wernicke’s aphasia

Robson, H., Grube, M., Lambon Ralph, M., Griffiths, T. and Sage, K. (2012) Fundamental deficits of auditory perception in Wernicke’s aphasia. Cortex, 49 (7). pp. 1808-1822. ISSN 0010-9452

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2012.11.012


Objective: This work investigates the nature of the comprehension impairment in Wernicke’s aphasia, by examining the relationship between deficits in auditory processing of fundamental, non-verbal acoustic stimuli and auditory comprehension. Wernicke’s aphasia, a condition resulting in severely disrupted auditory comprehension, primarily occurs following a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) to the left temporo-parietal cortex. Whilst damage to posterior superior temporal areas is associated with auditory linguistic comprehension impairments, functional imaging indicates that these areas may not be specific to speech processing but part of a network for generic auditory analysis. Methods: We examined analysis of basic acoustic stimuli in Wernicke’s aphasia participants (n = 10) using auditory stimuli reflective of theories of cortical auditory processing and of speech cues. Auditory spectral, temporal and spectro-temporal analysis was assessed using pure tone frequency discrimination, frequency modulation (FM) detection and the detection of dynamic modulation (DM) in “moving ripple” stimuli. All tasks used criterion-free, adaptive measures of threshold to ensure reliable results at the individual level. Results: Participants with Wernicke’s aphasia showed normal frequency discrimination but significant impairments in FM and DM detection, relative to age- and hearing-matched controls at the group level (n = 10). At the individual level, there was considerable variation in performance, and thresholds for both frequency and dynamic modulation detection correlated significantly with auditory comprehension abilities in the Wernicke’s aphasia participants. Conclusion: These results demonstrate the co-occurrence of a deficit in fundamental auditory processing of temporal and spectrotemporal nonverbal stimuli in Wernicke’s aphasia, which may have a causal contribution to the auditory language comprehension impairment Results are discussed in the context of traditional neuropsychology and current models of cortical auditory processing.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:30229


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