We assessed effects of semantic interference in people with aphasia (PWA). Two naming tasks (continuous naming and cyclic blocking) were contrasted with tasks which required suppression of competitors but minimized lexical access (probe task) or required extra-lexical mechanisms of control (Stroop task). In continuous naming, some PWA showed increased interference compared to control participants, with slower RTs and increased omissions. Others showed normal or weaker interference effects in terms of RTs but increased semantic errors. Patterns were consistent only between naming tasks. We explain results by assuming that some PWA are slow at implementing mechanisms of control/selection which weed-out competitors. Others, instead, will have activation difficulties which will induce them to lower the threshold needed for selection. Results highlight how different kinds of brain damage may induce different compensatory strategies and how semantic relatedness may induce both interference and facilitation. Implications for models of lexical selection are discussed.
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- differential threshold
- facilitation and interference
- selection criteria
- speed-accuracy trade-offs