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Event processing through drawing: investigating aspects of event processing in two people with aphasia.

Sacchett, C; Black, M; (2011) Event processing through drawing: investigating aspects of event processing in two people with aphasia. Aphasiology , 25 (1) 3 - 26.

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Abstract

Background: There is growing interest in how problems with “thinking for speaking” (Slobin 1996) might contribute to or interact with language impairment in aphasia (Marshall 2009). Evidence to date has come from language production tasks, or from non-linguistic input-focused tasks that may bear little relation to the processes involved in production. The current study describes a novel approach using a non-linguistic production task, the Event Drawing Task, to investigate event conceptualisation in two people with aphasia, only one of whom is hypothesised to have problems at this level. Aims: The study aims to identify similarities and differences between the event drawing performance of the two aphasic participants and a group of twelve non-brain-damaged controls. Intact event conceptualisation (‘Bob’) would predict a similar performance to controls, whilst event conceptualisation problems (‘Jack’) would predict differences from control performance. Methods & Procedures: ‘Bob’ and ‘Jack’ both had severe nonfluent aphasia resulting from a single stroke. A number of background assessments were carried out to gain a profile of their language and event processing abilities. The Event Drawing Task required participants to communicate 32 short video clips of events using only drawing. Five theoretically-motivated analyses were performed on the data from the Event Drawing Task, which targeted specific aspects of event conceptualisation. Patterns within control performance were identified, which formed the basis for detailed comparison with the performance of the two people with aphasia. Outcomes & Results: As predicted, the two participants’ performance on the Event Drawing Task differed. Bob’s performance mirrored that of controls in all analyses, while Jack’s performance differed widely from the controls on a number of parameters. This suggests that Jack is not processing visual events for the purpose of communication in the same way as either Bob or the controls. Conclusions: The findings confirm that event conceptualisation problems may be an additional source of deficit in aphasia. Furthermore, they suggest that these problems are likely to affect non-linguistic, as well as linguistic, forms of communication. This has both theoretical and clinical implications. It suggests that we need to extend the notion of “thinking for speaking” to “thinking for communication” more generally, in both the assessment and remediation of severe aphasia.

Type:Article
Title:Event processing through drawing: investigating aspects of event processing in two people with aphasia.
Keywords:aphasia, drawing, event processing
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Language and Communication
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences

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