Adynamic aphasia: A transcortical motor aphasia with defective semantic strategy formation

Academic Article


  • Adynamic aphasia is a form of transcortical motor aphasia characterized by sparse but otherwise normal spontaneous speech that may improve when concepts are introduced by external stimuli. Akinesia, impaired concept formation, inertia of concept generation, a defective semantic network, damage or impaired access to the verbal output lexicon, and defective semantic strategy formation have been proposed to account for this disorder. We studied a patient with adynamic aphasia and frontal lobe systems dysfunction due to bilateral striatocapsular infarctions. The patient was not akinetic but did demonstrate inertia of concept generation that could be overcome with prompting. However, prompting did not improve the number of concepts generated. He demonstrated a generally intact verbal lexicon and semantic network and normal lexical priming. However, his ability to sort closely related items into different classes without prior cuing regarding the nature of the classes was defective. Although his verbal memory was normal, he appeared to use a serial rather than a semantic strategy to recall items. Finally, despite normal lexical priming, he was impaired on a letter fluency task. These results most clearly demonstrate a defect in semantic strategy formation but indicate an additional and possibly related deficit in concept formation and a partial deficit in lexical strategy formation. All of these deficits appear to reflect impairment in the hierarchical organization of knowledge specific to the task at hand. This appears to be a key component of executive functions supported by frontal lobe systems.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gold M; Nadeau SE; Jacobs DH; Adair JC; Gonzalez Rothi LJ; Heilman KM
  • Start Page

  • 374
  • End Page

  • 393
  • Volume

  • 57
  • Issue

  • 3