Cognitive Framework For Naming

In order to arrive at a cognitive framework for naming that accounts for a majority of the available data from aphasia, aging, and Alzheimer's disease, a basic three-stage model of naming like that of Levelt consisting of a visual object-recognition stage, an access-to-semantic-information stage, and finally a phonological-realization stage needs to be expanded considerably. First, a lexical level needs to be inserted between the semantic and phonological levels to satisfy constraints of mapping distributed semantic and phonological representations onto one another. In addition, due to modality-specific deficits such as those found in optic aphasia, it is clear that a single semantic system blind to input modality will not suffice. Therefore, it is necessary to propose two levels of semantic analysis:

one dealing with modality-specific features of an object and a second dealing with supramodal features such as an object's function. Moreover, on the basis of data from normal aging, it is necessary to include in a model of confrontation naming a means to describe the process by which the information is passed from one level of representation to another and how that information could be disrupted or affected by changes in the processing abilities of the individual. Finally, information about semantic-category dissociations and the degradation of semantic knowledge with Alzheimer's disease requires that there be a hierarchical representation of semantic attributes. Therefore, what initially appeared to be a simple and straightforward three-stage model of naming is complicated by what we know about how the components and processes of naming are affected by aging, disease, and neurological accident. Even with all of the additions to and modifications of the simpler model, many behavioral phenomena associated with anomia, as well as their neurological underpinnings, are as yet unexplained.

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