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Object recognition under semantic impairment: The effects of conceptual regularities on perceptual decisions
ROGERS, T.T., Lambon Ralph, M.A., HODGES, J. & PATTERSON, K.
Language and Cognitive Processes, 18(5-6), 625-662
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Although patients with semantic deficits can sometimes show good performance on tests of object decision, we present evidence that this pattern applies when nonsense-objects do not respect the regularities of the domain. In a newly-designed test of object-decision, twenty patients with semantic dementia viewed line drawings of a real and chimeric animal side-by-side, and were asked to decide which was real. The real animal was either more typical (real/nonreal) or less typical (nonreal /real) than the chimera. Performance was significantly better in the real/nonreal condition, and success in both conditions was modulated by patients' degree of semantic impairment. A similar effect of item typicality was revealed in a subset of items selected from a standard test battery. Object-decision scores were highly correlated with other pictorial and verbal assessments of conceptual knowledge, suggesting that impaired performance on all tasks resulted from the degradation of a unitary underlying system.