In this study we report the long-term follow-up of EA, a patient originally affected by a disproportionate semantic impairment of biological categories due to herpetic encephalitis. After 10 years, EA still presented a biological categories semantic impairment, but his deficit had become minimal for animals while it remained considerably severe for fruit and vegetables, without any evolution from the original level of impairment. The eventual discrepancy between the two subsets of biological categories was statistically significant at word-picture matching and verbal semantic probes (and could not be explained by nuisance variables), but not significant at picture naming due to an associated lexical impairment that, besides plant life items, also affected animals and artefact stimuli. Our recovery data corroborate the notion that biological categories should be further fractionated, and we comment on the suitability of different accounts of category specificity to accommodate such findings. We discuss our case against the background of other cases reported in the literature and the current models of organisation of the semantic system, bringing to light some interesting consistencies concerning patients whose semantic impairment disproportionately affects the categories of fruit and vegetables.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology