An Examination of Retrieval Practice and Production Training in the Treatment of Lexical–Semantic Comprehension Deficits in Aphasia

Academic Article


  • Objective: Little research has addressed the treatment of lexical–semantic comprehension deficits (i.e., difficulty retrieving the meanings of words) in people with aphasia (PWA). Research suggests that practice retrieving names for depicted objects from long-term memory (production-based retrieval practice) more strongly benefits word retrieval for production inPWAcompared to errorless learning (i.e., word repetition), which eschews retrieval practice. This study assessed whether production-based and comprehension-based retrieval practice enhance performance on errorful word-comprehension items in PWA measured relative to nonretrieval forms of training and untrained control items. Method: In a within-participant group study of PWA, errorful comprehension items were assigned to (a) a production-based training module (retrieval practice vs. errorless learning); (b) a comprehension-based training module (a receptive form of retrieval practice vs. restudy). Each module comprised one training session and a 1-day and 1-week comprehension posttest on the module’s trained items and an untrained item set. Results: The comprehension module conditions produced similar and superior posttest performance relative to untrained items. Both production module conditions improved posttest performance relative to untrained items, with retrieval practice conferring more durable learning and generalization indicative of refinement of semantic representations compared to errorless learning. Conclusions: Results suggest comprehension and production-based forms of training are both beneficial for improving lexical–semantic deficits in aphasia, with production-based retrieval practice conferring additional benefits to the targeted deficit compared to errorless learning. Future studies should examine these learning factors in schedules of training more commensurate with clinical practice and in other neurological populations (e.g., semantic dementia).
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Neuropsychology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 28594779
  • Author List

  • Middleton EL; Duquette KL; Rawson KA; Mirman D
  • Start Page

  • 730
  • End Page

  • 752
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 8