Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech: Emphasis in Speech Pathology/Audiology


Speech Communication

Physical Description

50 Pages






The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of semantic associational strength (SAS) upon adult aphasics' auditory comprehension abilities. Twenty-eight adult aphasics (25 males and 3 females) and 12 normal control subjects were presented three experimental tasks, each containing 45 items. Experimental task 1 contained single word picture sets of high SAS, moderate SAS, and low SAS words. Experimental task 2 contained two word picture sets of high, moderate, and low SAS words, and experimental task 3 contained three word picture sets of high, moderate, and low SAS words. Subjects heard one, two, and three word verbal sequences for experimental tasks 1, 2, and 3, respectively, and pointed to the appropriate picture sequence. Level of SAS was determined on the basis of the two most frequently occurring word associations of 50 normal individuals to 195 words selected from the most frequently occurring 3,000 English words. The findings in this study revealed that aphasics had substantially more difficulty auditorily selecting picture sequences of high SAS words than sequences of moderate and low SAS words, and more difficulty auditorily selecting picture sequences of moderate SAS words than sequences of low SAS words. Results further indicated that, irrespective of degree of SAS between words, aphasics' retentional ability was adversely influenced by an increase in verbal sequence length. The presence of a significant interaction between the SAS and length factors negated the support for an interaction hypothesis that degree of SAS would differentially affect aphasics' comprehension as message length increased. Aphasics' performance on the experimental task was highly related to their overall communicative ability as assessed by the Porch Index of Communicative Ability.

Persistent Identifier