The Aphasiology Archive
University Library System, University of Pittsburgh

Discourse elicitation with pictorial stimuli in African Americans and Caucasians with and without aphasia

Olness, Gloria Streit and Ulatowska, Hanna K. and Wertz, Robert T. and Thompson, Jennifer L and Auther, Linda L.
Discourse elicitation with pictorial stimuli in African Americans and Caucasians with and without aphasia. Aphasiology, 16(4-6), 2002, pages 623-633.


Background: Pictorial stimuli are a traditional means of discourse elicitation for individuals with aphasia. The discourse genre produced in response to pictures may be affected by the presence of aphasia, the nature of the stimulus, or both. Ethnicity may also influence discourse responses, an issue critical for effective differentiation between communication changes associated with pathology and normal differences associated with ethnicity. There is a need for discourse research with African Americans who have aphasia, highlighted by ethnic group differences in stroke prevalence, and potential ethnic group differences in dialect.

Aims: This study was designed to address whether the quantity and quality of discourse produced in response to pictorial stimuli differed between African Americans and Caucasians with and without aphasia.

Methods & Procedures: We investigated the discourse of 33 African Americans with aphasia, 30 African American non-brain-injured controls, 29 Caucasians with aphasia, and 32 Caucasian non-brain-injured controls in their responses to two single pictures and one picture sequence. For the individuals with aphasia, aphasia severity level ranged from mild to moderate. There were no significant group differences for age or education. Participants were asked to ''tell a story'' and responses were produced after the stimulus was removed. Analyses included length of response (in propositions), discourse genre of response (narrative versus descriptive), occurrence of ethnic dialect, and thematic content.

Outcomes & Results: In both ethnic groups, individuals with aphasia produced less language on the most complex stimulus. Single pictures elicited more descriptive discourse, and the picture sequence more narratives, for all groups. Features of African American dialect were observed in responses of both African American non-brain-injured controls and African Americans with aphasia on all stimuli, especially in narrative genre responses. Thematic content was similar across groups.

EPrint Type:Journal (Paginated)
ID Code:1482
Conference:Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2001 : 31st : Santa Fe, NM : May 29-June 2, 2001)
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Alternative Locations:,,
Additional Information:Access to Full Text is subject to the Publisher's access restrictions.