Research Output
Aphasia rehabilitation and the strange neglect of speed.
  Timing data is infrequently reported in aphasiological literature and time taken is only a minor factor, where it is considered at all, in existing aphasia assessments. This is not surprising because reaction times are difficult to obtain manually, but it is a pity, because speed data should be indispensable in assessing the severity of language processing disorders and in evaluating the effects of treatment. This paper argues that reporting accuracy data without discussing speed of performance gives an incomplete and potentially misleading picture of any cognitive function. Moreover, in deciding how to treat, when to continue treatment and when to cease therapy, clinicians should have regard to both parameters: Speed and accuracy of performance. Crerar, Ellis and Dean (1996) reported a study in which the written sentence comprehension of 14 long-term agrammatic subjects was assessed and treated using a computer-based microworld. Some statistically significant and durable treatment effects were obtained after a short amount of focused therapy. Only accuracy data were reported in that (already long) paper, and interestingly, although it has been a widely read study, neither referees nor subsequent readers seemed to miss "the other side of the coin": How these participants compared with controls for their speed of processing and what effect treatment had on speed. This paper considers both aspects of the data and presents a tentative way of combining treatment effects on both accuracy and speed of performance in a single indicator. Looking at rehabilitation this way gives us a rather different perspective on which individuals benefited most from the intervention. It also demonstrates that while some subjects are capable of utilising metalinguistic skills to achieve normal accuracy scores even many years post-stroke, there is little prospect of reducing the time taken to within the normal range. Without considering speed of processing, the extent of this residual functional impairment can be overlooked.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    01 January 2004

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  • Publisher

    Psychology Press, Taylor & Francis Group

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Crerar, A. (2004). Aphasia rehabilitation and the strange neglect of speed. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 14, 173-206.



Aphasia; Language processing disorders; Reaction times; Speed of performance; Cognitive function; Measurement; Computer application; Statistics; Performance;

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