Lexical Access in Aphasic and Nonaphasic Speakers

Gary S. Dell, Myrna F. Schwartz, Nadine Martin, Eleanor M. Saffran, Deborah A. Gagnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An interactive 2-step theory of lexical retrieval was applied to the picture-naming error patterns of aphasic and nonaphasic speakers. The theory uses spreading activation in a lexical network to accomplish the mapping between the conceptual representation of an object and the phonological form of the word naming the object. A model developed from the theory was parameterized to fit normal error patterns. It was then "lesioned" by globally altering its connection weight, decay rates, or both to provide fits to the error patterns of 21 fluent aphasic patients. These fits were then used to derive predictions about the influence of syntactic categories on patient errors, the effect of phonology on semantic errors, error patterns after recovery, and patient performance on a single-word repetition task. The predictions were confirmed. It is argued that simple quantitative alterations to a normal processing model can explain much of the variety among patient patterns in naming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-838
Number of pages38
JournalPsychological review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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