AuthorCaffrey, Jill Teresa.
Committee ChairKaszniak, Alfred W.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractClosed head injury (CHI) typically results in diffuse damage to the brain with particular damage to the frontal and temporal regions. Individuals who have suffered a CHI often exhibit impaired verbal learning and memory. It has been noted that CHI individuals do not use semantic organizational encoding strategies to the same degree as non-CHI individuals. This failure is presumed to contribute to the observed verbal learning and memory impairment and is likely associated with frontal region damage and related frontal system dysfunction. The purposes of this study were to (a) investigate the effect of providing CHI subjects with guided semantic encoding and (b) describe the nature of the relationship between frontal system functioning and ability to benefit from guided semantic encoding. Twenty-four closed head injured subjects and 24 demographically matched control subjects participated in this study. Verbal learning and memory was measured using the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT; Delis, Kramer, Kaplan, & Ober, 1987). The CVLT involves learning a sixteen word list containing four words from four categories. The CVLT was administered in both standard and non-standard, guided semantic encoding formats. Frontal system functioning was measured with the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (Grant & Berg, 1948) and FAS Generative Naming (Borkowski, Benton & Spreen, 1967). Results from this study indicate that verbal learning and memory performance improves following guided semantic encoding. CHI subjects benefit to relatively the same degree as control subjects. This suggests that, with external guidance, CHI subjects have the ability to benefit from organizational cuing in a qualitatively similar manner to control subjects. However, performance of CHI subjects did not reach that of controls, even with guided semantic encoding, indicating additional processing deficits. Guided semantic encoding facilitates performance for both low and high frontal system functioning subjects on free and cued recall tests. Guided semantic encoding particularly helps low frontal system functioning CHI subjects in long delay recall and recognition discriminability. The finding that CHI subjects take advantage of semantic encoding strategies, when encouraged to do so, is similar to that reported for Korsakoff's syndrome and focal frontal lesion patients.