Effect of working memory load and typicality (Obermeyer et al., 2021)
datasetposted on 17.06.2021, 18:18 by Jessica Obermeyer, Laura Reinert, Rachel Kamen, Danielle Pritchard, Hyejin Park, Nadine Martin
Purpose: This study evaluated the effects of a linguistic characteristic, typicality, and a processing variable, working memory on the abilities of people with aphasia (PWA) and neurologically intact adults to process semantic representations. This was accomplished using a newly developed assessment task, the Category Typicality Test, which was created for the Temple Assessment of Language and Short-Term Memory in Aphasia.
Method: A post hoc quasi-experimental design was used. Participants included 27 PWA and 14 neurologically intact adults who completed the picture and word versions of the Category Typicality Test, which required them to determine if two items are in the same category. Memory load was altered by increasing the number of items to be compared, and the typicality of items was altered to increase linguistic complexity.
Results: A four-way mixed analysis of covariance was conducted. There was a significant interaction between working memory load and category typicality with performance accuracy decreasing as working memory load increased and category typicality decreased. There was also a significant interaction for typicality and stimuli with better performance in the picture condition and a significant interaction for working memory and group with lower performance accuracy for PWA. Post hoc pairwise comparisons revealed differences between memory load, typicality, stimuli conditions, and group. PWA also showed greater magnitude of change than neurologically intact adults when comparing high and low working memory load conditions, but not typicality conditions.
Discussion: Increasing working memory load had the most substantial impact on the accuracy of category judgments in PWA, but the interaction between increased working memory load and decreased category typicality of items to be compared resulted in reduced accuracy in both groups. These findings suggest that manipulation of processing and linguistic variables in assessment will provide insight into the nature of linguistic breakdown in aphasia.
Supplemental Material S1. Background span tasks for people with aphasia and neurologically intact people.
Obermeyer, J., Reinert, L., Kamen, R., Pritchard, D., Park, H., & Martin, N. (2021). Effect of working memory load and typicality on semantic processing in aphasia. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_AJSLP-20-00283
Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: Select Papers From the 50th Clinical Aphasiology Conference.