Paralexias

The term paralexia is applied to an error produced in response to a task requiring the oral reading of a written word. Ordinarily, this term is used only for single-word responses and does not include multiword phrases.

Orthographic paralexias are reading errors in which the response shares at least 50% of its letters with the target word, in approximately the same order. Some examples are shown in Table I. These paralexias have sometimes been called "visual paralexias." This is a misnomer: The overall visual similarity between target word and response is often minimal with regard to overall shape and length (e.g., political — "police"). Another reason not to use the term visual paralexia is that in most cases, orthographic paralexias are not caused by visual problems. Orthographic paralexias are produced by patients with all forms of alexia, but the reasons these errors are produced differ between alexias. Therefore, these paralexias are not particularly useful in the classification of an alexia.

Semantic paralexias are reading errors in which the meaning of the response word is related to the meaning of the target word. Semantic paralexias are of many types. The response word may be a synonym, an antonym, a subordinate, a superordinate, a coordi-

Table I

Examples of Paralexias

Table I

Examples of Paralexias

Type

Example

Orthographic

winter — "water"

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