Lexical and semantic factors influencing picture naming in aphasia

Marcella Laiacona, Claudio Luzzatti, Giusy Zonca, Caterina Guarnaschelli, Erminio Capitani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Picture naming requires early visual analysis, accessing stored structural knowledge, semantic activation, and lexical retrieval. We tested the effect of perceptual, lexical, and semantic variables on the performance of aphasics in picture naming and assessed prevalence of natural categories vs artifact dissociations. Forty-nine aphasics were asked to name 60 pictures, from three natural (animals, fruits, and vegetables) and three artificial categories (tools, furniture, and vehicles). For each item visual (drawing complexity, image agreement), semantic (prototypicality, concept familiarity) and lexical variables (word frequency, name agreement) were available. The effect of these variables showed individual differences; altogether, visual complexity had little influence, whereas lexical and semantic variables were more influential. Name agreement was most important, followed by word frequency. On a multiple single case analysis 10 patients (20%) showed a natural/artificial category dissociation. Five of the six subjects faring better with artifacts were males, and all of four patients faring better with natural categories were females, interpretations of this finding are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-187
Number of pages4
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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