Document Type: Special Articles

Authors

1 Department of Speech Therapy, School of Rehabilitation, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran ; Department of Speech Therapy, School of Paramedical Sciences, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Rehabilitation, School of Rehabilitation, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

4 Department of Rehabilitation, School of Rehabilitation, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

5 Department of Performing Arts, School of Fine Arts, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

Background: Pragmatics is appropriate use of language across a variety of social contexts  that  provides accurate interpretation   of   intentions.   The   occurrence    of   the right hemisphere lesions can interfere with pragmatic abilities, and particularly with the processing of nonliteral speech acts.Methods: Since the objective of this study was to assess different  aspects of pragmatic  competence in the  right hemisphere damage (RHD)  patients, 20 Iranian patients with right  hemisphere lesions  were  examined  by adult pragmatic  profile (APP) and a novel  checklist  was introduced for Persian language  speaking individuals. Meanwhile, 40 healthy  adult  individuals, who  were  age and gender  matched  with RHD patients, were considered as the  control  group. After obtaining  video  records, all subjects were evaluated  for 35 pragmatic  skills, including 24 verbal, 5 paralinguistic, and 6 nonverbal  aspects, by a two-point scale system.Results: Studying RHD patients  and their healthy counterparts  revealed  that  the  performance   by participants   with  right  hemisphere  lesions  exhibited  a high  degree   of  inappropriate  pragmatic  abilities compared  with controls in all domains. Furthermore, RHD patients  showed  a  trend  of  increasing  difficulty  in understanding and  producing   different   pragmatic phenomena, including standard  communication acts.Conclusion:  Present  results  indicated  that  the  right hemisphere  lesions  significantly  affected  pragmatic abilities in verbal,  paralinguistic  and  nonverbal  aspects. Such  a  pattern   of  performance,  which  is in  line  with deficits   previously   reported  for  RHD,  proved    the unquestioned role of the right hemisphere in processing nonliteral language.