Exploring the semantic category of animals: Some useful indices for a qualitative study of name production and their validation in a patient

Marcella Laiacona, Stefania Scotti, Nadia Allamano, Lorena Lorenzi, Erminio Capitani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Lexical frequency and item familiarity definitely influence name retrieval in clinical studies, but the relevance of concept typicality has been less extensively investigated. A relevant theoretical question is whether familiarity and typicality exert an independent influence on the name retrieval of aphasic patients. In this study we assembled a list of 288 items of the animals category from a semantic fluency task performed by 198 normal subjects in a previous study. The production frequency of a given animal name was used to estimate typicality, and for the whole list of animals a new normal sample estimated familiarity. The newly collected indices were used to analyse semantic fluency and picture naming of FPA, an anoxic patient. On both tasks, familiarity and typicality were more relevant than word frequency. Typicality of each stimulus, and to a lower degree familiarity, were independently able to predict the type of naming response. Thus, the influence of lexical-semantic variables on naming should be viewed, at least in this case, as something endowed with two dimensions (typicality and familiarity), while in other cases also lexical frequency may be relevant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-88
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Neurolinguistics
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • Familiarity
  • Naming
  • Typicality
  • Word frequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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