Left hemisphere contribution to motor programming of aphasic speech: A reaction time experiment in aphasic patients

Giuseppe Vallar, Roberto Sterzi, Anna Basso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Simple reaction time to lateralized visual dot stimuli was studied in 10 fluent and 10 non-fluent right-handed chronic aphasics with left hemisphere lesions. As well as the standard simple reaction time condition, the patients were given a concomitant verbal task, requiring overt articulation while reacting to the visual stimuli. Compared with the control condition, in both aphasic groups the verbal task produced an overall lengthening of latencies, with a significant slowing down of responses to the stimuli located in the right visual half-field. According to these results the verbal concurrent activity appears to involve the left hemisphere as in normal subjects, suggesting that the undamaged regions of the left hemisphere have a role to play in the motor programming of aphasic speech. As a collateral finding, the difference between latencies to stimuli ipsilateral and contralateral to the responding hand-a measure of interhemispheric transmission time-is greatly increased in patients with motor deficits. This is consistent with the view that, in simple visuo-motor reaction time, interhemispheric transfer takes place between anterior regions of the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-519
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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