The Aphasiology Archive
University Library System, University of Pittsburgh

Pitch and Rhythm Processing in Aphasia

Worek, Amanda and Zipse, Lauryn and Kjelgaard, Margaret and Hunsaker, Eileen
Pitch and Rhythm Processing in Aphasia. In Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2012 : 42nd : Lake Tahoe, CA : May 20-25, 2012) / : (2012).

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In individuals with aphasia, it has long been observed that though the ability to produce fluent strings of speech may be impaired, the ability to sing is sometimes preserved (Gerstman, 1964). In response to such observations, Albert, Sparks and Helm (1973) developed what is known as Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT) with the suggestion that right hemisphere mechanisms believed to be involved in music processing may be able to compensate for damage to the language zone in the left hemisphere. Because music and speech share similar compositions (e.g., rhythm, pitch, duration and often linguistic content) and are thought to reign dominant in opposite hemispheres, it is understandable that such claims be made. However, collective findings in the areas of melodic and prosodic processing and the neural substrates that are involved in these processes suggest that the basis for the effectiveness of MIT must be more complicated than originally described. Although MIT has been shown to be a successful remediation tool for the partial restoration of language function in some individuals with aphasia (Sparks, Helm & Albert, 1974; Goldfarb & Bader, 1979; Schlaug, Marchina, & Norton, 2008, 2009) little evidence has been gathered as to what exactly makes this therapy effective. Consequently, a lack of evidence has been provided as to how MIT can be individualized to maximize the efficiency and efficacy of the treatment it provides.

EPrint Type:Clinical Aphasiology Paper
ID Code:2402
Conference:Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2012 : 42nd : Lake Tahoe, CA : May 20-25, 2012)