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Research  How emotions affect word retrieval in people with aphasia + Voice pitch

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How emotions affect word retrieval in people with aphasia

INTRO: People with aphasia have more trouble coming up with words they want to use when they’re prompted by images and words that carry negative emotional meaning, new research suggests.

The study involved individuals whose language limitations resulted from damage to the brain caused by a stroke – the most common cause of aphasia, affecting at least one-third of stroke survivors. The disorder impairs the expression and understanding of language, as well as reading and writing.

Researchers from The Ohio State University who led the study said the findings – suggesting that prompts with negative and even positive emotional context can disrupt word retrieval – have implications for clinical assessments and therapy, where the potential influence of emotion may not be taken into account. And because many patients already feel isolated by the condition, they said, insights from this study could help reduce interference with communication efforts by people with aphasia in multiple settings.

“Emotions are a big part of having aphasia – it impacts your quality of life drastically,” said first author Deena Schwen Blackett, who completed this work as a graduate student in speech and hearing science at Ohio State.

“The fact that an emotional reaction interferes with the ability of people with aphasia to come up with words – on top of how hard it already is – could validate their experience if they’re saying that a heightened emotional state makes it harder for them to communicate, so they might need to keep their environment mellow.”

The study was published recently in the journal Neuropsychologia... (MORE - details)

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