Phonologically related lexical repetition disorder: A case study

Brian T. Gold, Andrew Kertesz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Errors of repetition in aphasia are most often nonword substitutions. Phonologically related lexical errors, or formal errors, are real-word substitutions that overlap with target words in sound. In the present research we present the case of an aphasic patient, MMB, who produced an unusually high rate of formal paraphasias in repetition. Six experiments were conducted to investigate the combination of impairments contributing to MMB's pattern of repetition and to test the predictions made by two theories of formal errors. MMB's formal errors in repetition were influenced by target frequency, but not by target length or imageability. Formal errors tended to be more frequent than their targets and showed greatest phonological overlap with targets at initial consonant. These findings provided partial support for Martin and Saffran's fully interactive spreading activation account of formal errors and did not support Blanken's phonological interactive encoding account. In Experiment 6, the effect on repetition of increasing auditory verbal short-term memory (AVSTM) demands was examined using a paired word repetition experiment. Under these conditions, MMB produced semantic paraphasias for the first time, providing strong support for the Martin-Saffran hypothesis that phonologically related, and semantic, lexical repetition disorders lie on a continuum of severity moderated by the degree of AVSTM impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-265
Number of pages25
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Brian T. Gold, Department of Psychology, Washington University, Campus Box 1125, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, Missouri 63130-4899. Fax: (314) 935-7588. E-mail: This research was supported by a Doris Anderson postdoctoral fellowship from the Lawson Research Institute awarded to the first author. The authors thank Nadine Martin and one anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on an earlier version of this article. 241


  • Conduction aphasia
  • Formal paraphasias
  • Repetition disorder
  • Word substitutions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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