No negative impact of word retraining on vocabulary use or clarity of communication in semantic dementia

Sharon A. Savage*, Leonie F. Lampe, Lyndsey Nickels

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    26 Downloads (Pure)


    Word retraining techniques can improve picture naming of treated items in people with semantic dementia (SD). The utility of this, however, has been questioned given the propensity for under- and overgeneralization errors in naming in SD. Few studies have investigated the occurrence of such errors. This study examined whether, following tailored word retraining: (1) misuse of words increases, (2) the type of naming errors changes, and/or (3) clarity of communication is reduced. Performance on trained and untrained word naming from nine participants with SD who completed a word retraining programme were analysed. Responses from baseline and post-intervention assessments were coded for misuse (i.e., trained word produced for another target item), error type, and communication clarity. All participants showed significant improvement for trained vocabulary. There was no significant increase in misuse of words, with such errors occurring rarely. At a group level, there was an increased tendency toward omission errors for untrained items, and a reduction in semantically related responses. However, this did not impact on clarity scores with no consistent change across participants. In sum, we found no negative impacts following tailored word retraining, providing further evidence of the benefit of these programmes for individuals with SD.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)193-225
    Number of pages33
    JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
    Issue number2
    Early online date13 Nov 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • primary progressive aphasia
    • word retrieval
    • naming therapy
    • word relearning
    • overgeneralisation


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