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Cohesion, coherence, and declarative memory: Discourse patterns in individuals with hippocampal amnesia

Kurczek, Jake and Duff, Melissa C.
Cohesion, coherence, and declarative memory: Discourse patterns in individuals with hippocampal amnesia. Aphasiology, 25(6-7), 2011, pages 700-712.

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Background: Discourse cohesion and coherence gives our communication continuity. Deficits in cohesion and coherence have been reported in patients with cognitive-communication disorders (e.g., TBI, dementia). However, the diffuse nature of pathology and widespread cognitive deficits of these disorders have made identification of specific neural substrates and cognitive systems critical for cohesion and coherence challenging.

Aims: Taking advantage of a rare patient group with selective and severe declarative memory impairments, the current study attempts to isolate the contribution of declarative memory to the successful use of cohesion and coherence in discourse.

Methods & Procedures: Cohesion and coherence were examined in the discourse of six participants with hippocampal amnesia and six demographically matched comparison participants. Specifically, this study (1) documents the frequency, type, and completeness of cohesive ties; (2) evaluates discourse for local and global coherence; and (3) compares use of cohesive ties and coherence ratings in amnesia and healthy participants.

Outcomes & Results: Overall, amnesia participants produced fewer cohesive ties per T-unit, the adequacy of their ties were more often judged to be incomplete, and the ratings of their local coherence were consistently lower than comparison participants.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that declarative memory may contribute to the discursive use of cohesion and coherence. Broader notions of cohesion, or interactional cohesion, i.e., cohesion across speakers (two or more people), time (days, weeks), and communicative resources (gesture), warrant further study as the experimental tasks used in the literature, and here, may actually underestimate or overestimate the extent of impairment.

EPrint Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:Cohesion, Coherence, Declarative memory, Hippocampus, Discourse
ID Code:2229
Conference:Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2010 : 40th : Isle of Palms, SC : May 23-27, 2010)
Alternative Locations:
DOI or Unique Handle:10.1080/02687038.2010.537345
Additional Information:This article is based on a paper originally presented at the CAC2010 Conference. Permission to view the full-text article is subject to the publisher's access restrictions.

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