chapter  30
19 Pages

3Chapter 0 Breakdown of Semantics in Aphasia and Dementia: A Role for Attention?

In Chapter 10 in this volume, I reviewed the semantic memory system, and suggested that an understanding of semantic memory may help us to understand the nature of language breakdown in a number of disorders that involve difculties with communication. In this chapter I address two of the most commonly diagnosed disorders of adulthood, aphasia, and Alzheimer’s dementia (AD), and examine how problems with semantic memory may be contributing to the clinical communication problems. I try to provide support for the hypothesis that what is going on in both of these disorders may be partially explained not only by problems with representation of semantic information, but also by problems with the allocation of attention to the concepts.