Cortex 2019 Mar 7;117:228-246. Epub 2019 Mar 7.
University of South Carolina, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, United States.
While numerous studies have explored single-word naming, few have evaluated the behavioral and neural correlates of more naturalistic language, like connected speech, which we produce every day. Here, in a retrospective analysis of 120 participants at least six months following left hemisphere stroke, we evaluated the distribution of word errors (paraphasias) and associated brain damage during connected speech (picture description) and object naming. While paraphasias in connected speech and naming shared underlying neural substrates, analysis of the distribution of paraphasias suggested that lexical-semantic load is likely reduced during connected speech. Using voxelwise lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM), we demonstrated that verbal (real word: semantically related and unrelated) and sound (phonemic and neologistic) paraphasias during both connected speech and naming loaded onto the left hemisphere ventral and dorsal streams of language, respectively. Furthermore, for the first time using both connected speech and naming data, we localized semantically related paraphasias to more anterior left hemisphere temporal cortex and unrelated paraphasias to more posterior left temporal and temporoparietal cortex. The connected speech results, in particular, highlight a gradient of specificity as one translates visual recognition from left temporo-occipital cortex to posterior and subsequently anterior temporal cortex. The robustness of VLSM results for sound paraphasias derived during connected speech was notable, in that analyses performed on sound paraphasias from the connected speech task, and not the naming task, demonstrated significant results following removal of lesion volume variance and related apraxia of speech variance. Therefore, connected speech may be a particularly sensitive task on which to evaluate further lexical-phonological processing in the brain. The results presented here demonstrate the related, though different, distribution of paraphasias during connected speech, confirm that paraphasias arising in connected speech and single-word naming likely share neural origins, and endorse the need for continued evaluation of the neural substrates of connected speech processes.