The goal of this paper was to address three issues relevant to the semantic-lexical deficit of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients: (1) the nature of the deficit (contrasting the loss of information with the difficulty of intentional access hypothesis), (2) stimulus familiarity effects. (3) semantic category effects (contrasting living with non living categories). Sixteen patients affected by AD and 11 matched control subjects were given a naming task, a word-picture matching task and a generative associative naming task, constructed by using as stimuli the same 40 items. Stimuli were either living or nonliving items of high, medium, and low familiarity. Responses given on the generative associative naming task were classified as generic (poorly informative) or specific (more informative). As expected, AD patients were poorer than controls both in naming and in word-to-picture matching tasks. In the generative associative naming task, AD patients tended to produce fewer specific than generic associations with respect to controls. Category effects had a significant influence on performance only on the naming task, but not on the word-to picture matching or on the generative associative naming task. Stimulus familiarity, on the other hand, strongly influenced performance both in AD patients and in controls: naming and comprehension were better for high familiarity items with respect to low familiarity items. For generative associative naming, the tendency of AD patients to produce fewer specific than generic associations was mainly significant for low familiarity items.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology