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Semantic Processes in Word Finding and Gestures

(VR) Elisabeth Ahlsén

The purpose is to provide a integrated study of the semantics and semiotics of words and gestures produced by speakers with aphasia and typical speakers. The study will address the following claims about gestures and semantic processes, especially in relation to word finding difficulties:

  1. Nouns and verbs (at least certain types of nouns and verbs) differ in activation areas in the brain and this is related to different types of encoding - vision vs. motion.
  2. Gestures can have different main functions and cognitive status in relation to speech – mainly iconic vs. own communication management function.
  3. Gestures help to package information for verbalization.
  4. Category specific anomia can be related to different types of encoding of perceptual and semantic features.

The study will primarily use microanalysis of the structure and function of gestures in relation to speech in informal conversation. It will provide a model-related analysis of semantic features in the structure and function of gestures accompanying word finding difficulties, both when speech occurs and when gestures occur without speech.

The results will address the claims above and add to our knowledge about encoding of semantic features in words and gestures and how it affects the production process, The results will also be relevant for diagnosis, therapy and the design and use of communication aids for persons with language disabilities.

Page Manager: Pavel Rodin|Last update: 1/28/2011

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