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Neuropragmatics: Extralinguistic communication after closed head injury

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Document pages: 23 pages

Abstract: This work is concerned with the decay of communicative abilities after head trauma. A protocol composed of 16 videotaped scenes was devised in order to investigate the comprehension of several types of communicative actions realized with extralinguistic means, like pointing or clapping. The protocol was administered to 30 closed head injured individuals. The results showed a decreasing performance from simple standard acts, to complex standard acts, deceits, and ironies. The subjects performance was worse with the scenes reproducing failing, rather than successful, communicative actions. The results are compared with those we previously obtained with a linguistic protocol. A theory of the cognitive processes underlying intentional communication is outlined and used to explain the results.

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