Effects of semantic elaboration and typicality on picture naming in Alzheimer disease

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Individuals with probable Alzheimer disease (pAD) are frequently impaired at picture naming. This study examined whether a semantic elaboration task would facilitate naming in pAD, and whether training either semantically typical or atypical stimulus items facilitated generalized improvement in picture naming and category generation tasks. Methods: Twelve adults with mild-moderate pAD participated in the study. Participants performed an experimental semantic elaboration training task using a subset of typical items from one category and atypical items from another category. The third category, acted as a control (i.e., no items were trained). The study assessed change in category generation and a picture naming within the three target categories. Results: Individuals showed significantly improved category generation and naming, but changes were not limited to trained categories. Naming of trained atypical items improved significantly. Participants showed significantly improved naming of untrained typical items from categories trained with typical items. Conclusions: Semantic elaboration of typical items within a semantic category can lead to generalized improvement in other typical items in the category in mild-moderate pAD. This is consistent with theories postulating that typical category items share overlapping distributed representations. Further exploration of the effects of semantic elaboration on word-finding in pAD is warranted, especially the possibility of within-category generalization.Learning outcomes: After reading this article, the reader will be able to: (1) explain how word-finding is affected by probable Alzheimer disease; (2) identify ways word finding is usually assessed in Alzheimer's disease; (3) describe the effects of training typical versus atypical items from a category in people with aphasia; and (4) describe the effects of training people with Alzheimer's disease on typical versus atypical items from a category. © 2011.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Morelli CA; Altmann LJP; Kendall D; Fischler I; Heilman KM
  • Start Page

  • 413
  • End Page

  • 428
  • Volume

  • 44
  • Issue

  • 4