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(1/1241) Improving social interaction in chronic psychotic using discriminated avoidance ("nagging"): experimental analysis and generalization.

Three social-interaction behaviors of a withdrawn chronic schizophrenic were increased using a discriminated avoidance ("nagging") procedure. The three behaviors were: (a) voice volume loud enough so that two-thirds of his speech was intellibible at a distance of 3m; (b) duration of speech of at least 15 sec; (c) placement of hands and elbows on the armrests of the chair in which he was sitting. "Nagging" consisted of verbal prompts to improve performance when the behaviors did not meet their criteria. A combined withdrawal and multiple-baseline design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the procedure, and the contingency was sequentially applied to each of the three behaviors in each of four different interactions to determine the degree of stimulus and response generalization. Results indicated that the contingency was the effective element in increasing the patient's appropriate performance, and that there was a high degree of stimulus generalization and a moderate degree of response generalization. After the patient's discharge from the hospital, the durability of improvement across time and setting was determined in followup sessions conducted at a day treatment center and at a residential care home. Volume and duration generalized well to the new settings, while arm placement extinguished immediately.  (+info)

(2/1241) Descriptive study of cooperative language in primary care consultations by male and female doctors.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the use of some of the characteristics of male and female language by male and female primary care practitioners during consultations. DESIGN: Doctors' use of the language of dominance and support was explored by using concordancing software. Three areas were examined: mean number of words per consultation; relative frequency of question tags; and use of mitigated directives. The analysis of language associated with cooperative talk examines relevant words or phrases and their immediate context. SUBJECTS: 26 male and 14 female doctors in general practice, in a total of 373 consecutive consultations. SETTING: West Midlands. RESULTS: Doctors spoke significantly more words than patients, but the number of words spoken by male and female doctors did not differ significantly. Question tags were used far more frequently by doctors (P<0.001) than by patients or companions. Frequency of use was similar in male and female doctors, and the speech styles in consultation were similar. CONCLUSIONS: These data show that male and female doctors use a speech style which is not gender specific, contrary to findings elsewhere; doctors consulted in an overtly non-directive, negotiated style, which is realised through suggestions and affective comments. This mode of communication is the core teaching of communication skills courses. These results suggest that men have more to learn to achieve competence as professional communicators.  (+info)

(3/1241) THA improves word priming and clonidine enhances fluency and working memory in Alzheimer's disease.

We investigated the effects of a single administration of a cholinesterase inhibitor, tetrahydroaminoacridine (THA, 25 and 50 mg, orally), and an alpha 2-agonist, clonidine (0.5 and 2 micrograms/kg, orally), on neuropsychologic performance in two groups of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Clonidine enhanced a spatial working memory and verbal fluency, but had no effect on spatial span or word priming. THA enhanced word priming, but had no effect on other performance measures. Our data suggests that degeneration of the LC noradrenergic system and the cholinergic cells of the basal forebrain have different functional consequences during the progression of AD. Finally, a combined treatment with noradrenergic and cholinergic drugs might produce a qualitatively broader effect on cognitive functions than either of the treatments alone, and more effectively attenuate clinical dementia.  (+info)

(4/1241) Effects of talker, rate, and amplitude variation on recognition memory for spoken words.

This study investigated the encoding of the surface form of spoken words using a continuous recognition memory task. The purpose was to compare and contrast three sources of stimulus variability--talker, speaking rate, and overall amplitude--to determine the extent to which each source of variability is retained in episodic memory. In Experiment 1, listeners judged whether each word in a list of spoken words was "old" (had occurred previously in the list) or "new." Listeners were more accurate at recognizing a word as old if it was repeated by the same talker and at the same speaking rate; however, there was no recognition advantage for words repeated at the same overall amplitude. In Experiment 2, listeners were first asked to judge whether each word was old or new, as before, and then they had to explicitly judge whether it was repeated by the same talker, at the same rate, or at the same amplitude. On the first task, listeners again showed an advantage in recognition memory for words repeated by the same talker and at same speaking rate, but no advantage occurred for the amplitude condition. However, in all three conditions, listeners were able to explicitly detect whether an old word was repeated by the same talker, at the same rate, or at the same amplitude. These data suggest that although information about all three properties of spoken words is encoded and retained in memory, each source of stimulus variation differs in the extent to which it affects episodic memory for spoken words.  (+info)

(5/1241) Aphasic disorder in patients with closed head injury.

Quantitative assessment of 50 patients with closed head injury disclosed that anomic errors and word finding difficulty were prominent sequelae as nearly half of the series had defective scores on tests of naming and/or word association. Aphasic disturbance was associated with severity of brain injury as reflected by prolonged coma and injury of the brain stem.  (+info)

(6/1241) A comparison of language achievement in children with cochlear implants and children using hearing aids.

English language achievement of 29 prelingually deaf children with 3 or more years of cochlear implant (CI) experience was compared to the achievement levels of prelingually deaf children who did not have such CI experience. Language achievement was measured by the Rhode Island Test of Language Structure (RITLS), a measure of signed and spoken sentence comprehension, and the Index of Productive Syntax (IPSyn), a measure of expressive (signed and spoken) English grammar. When the CI users were compared with their deaf age mates who contributed to the norms of the RITLS, it was found that CI users achieved significantly better scores. Likewise, we found that CI users performed better than 29 deaf children who used hearing aids (HAs) with respect to English grammar achievement as indexed by the IPSyn. Additionally, we found that chronological age highly correlated with IPSyn levels only among the non-CI users, whereas length of CI experience was significantly correlated with IPSyn scores for CI users. Finally, clear differences between those with and without CI experience were found by 2 years of post-implant experience. These data provide evidence that children who receive CIs benefit in the form of improved English language comprehension and production.  (+info)

(7/1241) A functional neuroimaging study of the variables that generate category-specific object processing differences.

Brain damage can cause remarkably selective deficits in processing specific categories of objects, indicating the high degree of functional segregation within the brain. The neuroimaging study presented here investigates differences in the neural activity associated with two categories of natural objects (animals and fruit) and two categories of man-made objects (vehicles and tools). Stimuli were outline drawings and the tasks were naming and word-picture matching. For man-made objects, the only category-specific effect was in the left posterior middle temporal cortex, which was most active for drawings of tools, as previously reported. For natural objects, drawings of animals and fruit (relative to drawings of man-made objects) enhanced activity in bilateral anterior temporal and right posterior middle temporal cortices. Critically, these effects with natural objects were not observed when the stimuli were coloured appropriately to facilitate identification. Furthermore, activation in the same right hemisphere areas was also observed for viewing and matching unfamiliar non-objects relative to naming and matching man-made objects. These results indicate that, in the right hemisphere, differences between processing natural relative to man-made objects overlap with the effects of increasing demands on object identification. In the left hemisphere, the effects are more consistent with functional specialization within the semantic system. We discuss (i) how category-specific differences can emerge for multiple reasons and (ii) the implications of these effects on the interpretation of functional imaging data and patients with category-specific deficits.  (+info)

(8/1241) Electrophysiological correlates of language processing in schizotypal personality disorder.

OBJECTIVE: This study examined whether the electrophysiological correlates of language processing found previously to be abnormal in schizophrenia are also abnormal in schizotypal individuals. The authors used the N400 component to evaluate language dysfunction in schizotypal individuals. METHOD: Event-related potentials were recorded in 16 comparison subjects and 17 schizotypal individuals (who met full DSM-III-R criteria) to sentences presented both visually and aurally; half of the sentences ended with an expected word completion (congruent condition), and the other half ended with an unexpected word completion (incongruent condition). RESULTS: In the congruent condition, the N400 amplitude was more negative in individuals with schizotypal personality disorder than in comparison subjects in both the visual and auditory modalities. In addition, in the visual modality, the N400 latency was prolonged in the individuals with schizotypal personality disorder. CONCLUSIONS: The N400 was found to be abnormal in the individuals with schizotypal personality disorder relative to comparison subjects. The abnormality was similar to the abnormality the authors' laboratory reported earlier in schizophrenic subjects, in which the N400 amplitude was found to be more negative in both congruent and incongruent sentence completions. The N400 abnormality is consistent with the inefficient use of context.  (+info)