Speech monitoring skills in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and normal aging

Patrick McNamara, Loraine K. Obler, Rhoda Au, Raymon Durso, Martin L. Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


We examined the abilities of 15 patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT), 22 patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD), and 141 healthy subjects (ranging in age from 30 to 79 years) to detect and correct their own speech errors. Each subject was shown the Cookie Theft picture of the BDAE (Goodglass & Kaplan, 1972., The assessment of aphasia and related disorders. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger.) and instructed to tell the examiner the " ... story of what's happening in the picture." Self-monitoring performance was assessed by tabulating the number of uncorrected errors as well as repaired errors. We divided repairs into two types based on the psycholinguistics literature (van Wijk & Kempen, 1987. Cognitive Psychology, 19, 403-440). Speech corrections were judged to be lemma repairs when the reparandum was a single word, and reformulation repairs when a new syntactic constituent was added to the reparandum. Patients with DAT corrected only 24% of their total errors and patients with PD only 25%. Healthy subjects, by contrast, corrected from 72 to 92% of their total errors. Patients with DAT tended to rely on reformulation repairs while patients with PD used both repair types about equally often. While healthy elderly Ss (in the 70s group) utilized lemma repairs more often than the reformulation strategy, all other healthy Ss used both strategies about equally often. Across all groups naming performance correlated negatively with numbers of undetected errors. Results point to a previously unrecognized communication disorder associated with PD and DAT and manifested by an impairment in the ability to correct output errors. This impairment may be related to attentional and frontal dysfunction in the two patient groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-51
Number of pages14
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes


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