Emotion word processing in aphasia
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 18:26 authored by Catherine Jane Mason
Nouns that label emotions, such as "happiness", "misery" and "enjoyment", have been shown to have a lexical processing advantage over other "non-emotion" abstract words in unimpaired speakers. However, it is unknown whether emotion words are more quickly and accurately processed by people with aphasia. This thesis explored this question by examining emotion word processing in nine participants with aphasia. Performance on emotion and non-emotion abstract words was compared on three tasks: list recall, lexical decision and single-word reading. A significant emotion word advantage was found, but limited to only some participants and tasks. The results are discussed with focus on the possible influences of bilingualism, severity and level of language breakdown on the participants' performance. Importantly, an emotion word advantage was evident when emotion and non-emotion words were matched for imageability, suggesting that the effect could not be explained by the heightened imageability ratings of emotion words. Possible alternate explanations for the emotion word processing advantage are explored, with a focus on context availability and valence -- abstract.