Poster F121, Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Word-Shape, Taste-Shape, and Taste Word-Shape Associations in Persons With Aphasia
Vijayachandra Ramachandra1; 1Marywood University
There has been a resurgence of the motor theory (MT) of speech perception with the discovery of mirror neurons. There seems to be a striking resemblance between the MT and mirror neuron functions because both make connections between production and perception. The mirror neuron system (MNS) especially in the frontal and temporal regions may be crucial for speech perception. Given that persons with aphasia (PWA) generally have lesions in these regions containing the MNS, it is reasonable to hypothesize that they may have problems with multisensory integration required for speech perception. 29 subjects (9 people with non-fluent aphasia, 10 age-matched older controls and 10 younger controls) were given multisensory integration tasks which required making iconic associations. They included word-shape, taste-shape and taste word-shape association tasks. One-sample t-test revealed that the aphasia group was significantly below chance (at 50%) on both word-shape and taste-shape association tasks (P>0.05). Both the control groups performed significantly above chance on both these tasks (P< 0.05). Finally, the performance of the aphasia group was comparable to that of the control groups on the taste word-shape association tasks. Overall, the results indicate that PWA were not as good as healthy controls at multisensory processing, indicating a MNS deficit. This should be interpreted with caution because there were four individuals with aphasia who performed above chance on these tasks. Moreover, PWA were as good as control participants on taste word-shape association. The discussion of results considers how iconicity may facilitate language recovery at least in some PWA.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Multisensory