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Bimodal cueing in aphasia : the influence of lipreading on speech discrimination and language comprehension Dupuis, Karine


Previous research on the influence of lipreading on speech perception has failed to consistently show that individuals with aphasia benefit from the visual cues provided by lipreading. The present study was designed to replicate these findings, and to investigate the role of lipreading at the discourse level. Six participants with aphasia took part in this study. A syllable discrimination task using the syllables /pem, tem, kem, bem, dem, gem/, and a discourse task consisting of forty short fictional passages, were administered to the participants. The stimuli were presented in two modality conditions, audio-only and audio-visual. The discourse task employed two grammatical complexity levels to examine the influence of lipreading on the comprehension of simple and moderately-complex passages. Response accuracy was used as the dependent measure on the discrimination task. Two measures were used in the discourse task, on-line reaction time from an auditory moving window procedure, and off-line comprehension question accuracy. A test of working memory was also administered. Both inferential statistics and descriptive analyses were conducted to evaluate the data. The results of the discrimination task failed to consistently show that the participants benefited from the visual cues. On the discourse task, faster reaction times were observed in the audio-visual condition, particularly for the complex passages. The comprehension question accuracy data revealed that the two participants with the most severe language comprehension deficits appeared to benefit from lipreading. These findings suggest that the benefits of lipreading primarily relate to processing time, and that these benefits are greater with increased stimulus complexity and context. In addition, a strong positive correlation between working memory and comprehension question accuracy was found, supporting the claim that working memory may be a constraint in language comprehension. No correlation was found between participants’ accuracy scores on the discourse and discrimination tasks, replicating previous research findings. The results from this study provide preliminary support for the clinical use of lipreading and working memory capacity for the treatment of language comprehension difficulties in individuals with aphasia.

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