Browsing by Subject "Afasia"

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  • Majatsalo, Riitta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Background. One way to define aphasia is to consider it as an impairment of language functions emerging after the period of language acquisition. Aphasia is most often due to an ischemic or hemorrahagic stroke and causes common problems in word retrieval, naming as well as expressive and receptive language skills. The symptoms of aphasia may be mild moderate, severe or most severe depending on the lesion size and location. The recovery from aphasia is based on the reorganization of neural networks in the brain and is generally divided into three main phases: acute, subacute and chronic. Acquisition of novel words requires intensive exposition to them through hearing or seeing as well as a good functioning of short-term and long-term memories. There has been only a little research in acquisition of novel words in subacute aphasia. Objectives. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the ability of a person in subacute phase of aphasia to learn novel words in a situation resembling ambiguous natural language learning context. Another aim is to study the connection between the learning ability and the language profile of the participant. Methods. The research material consisted of background information of the participant as well as the results of linguistic-cognitive tests and the novel word learning test. In the last-mentioned the participant learned six nonwords and their picture referents cross-situationally which means that the correct word-referent pairs develop gradually with the help of participant's own observations and feedback. Results and conclusions. Compared to the results of the nearest study available as to the study design the participant showed both statistically significant ability to learn novel words and also ability to store the new material during one week after the testing. In spite of a severe aphasia the participant reached the highest learning results together a chronic participant whose aphasia severity grade was mild. One possible explanation to this may be that the participant could make a successful advantage of both the residual of the linguistic-cognitive profile as well as the visual modality of the word learning task.