Effects of semantic variables on word production in aphasia

Leonie F. Lampe*, Solene Hameau, Nora Fieder, Lyndsey Nickels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Words differ in the complexity of their semantic representations and their relationships to other words and these differences can be operationalised as a variety of semantic variables. The research presented here investigates how word production in aphasia is influenced by six feature-based semantic variables (number of near semantic neighbours, semantic similarity, number of semantic features, typicality, intercorrelational density, and distinctiveness). Previous research has reported inconsistent findings for some of the semantic variables, while others have not been previously studied in aphasia. Spoken picture naming data from a large group of individuals with aphasia with mixed spoken word production impairments (n = 175) and a sub-group who produced few phonological errors (n = 60) was analysed. We examined effects of the semantic variables on overall naming accuracy and on the occurrence of different error types (semantic errors overall, coordinate errors, omissions), while controlling for other psycholinguistic variables using generalised linear mixed effects models and Bayesian correlations. Across analyses, number of semantic features was the most important predictor with a facilitatory main effect on naming accuracy in the sub-group analysis. Number of semantic features, along with typicality and semantic similarity, also predicted error types and in some analyses these effects depended on the integrity of semantic processing. Effects of the semantic variables and their theoretical explanations and implications are discussed in light of previous research and models of word production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-402
Number of pages40
Early online date20 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • picture naming
  • semantic variables
  • aphasia
  • anomia
  • lexical selection


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