Working Memory in Aphasia: Considering Discourse Processing and Treatment Implications

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Abstract

Evidence suggests that persons with aphasia (PWAs) present with working memory impairments that affect a variety of language tasks. Most of these studies have focused on the phonological loop component of working memory and little attention has been paid to the episodic buffer component. The episodic buffer, as a limited capacity, multimodal system that binds and integrates information from the phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad, and long-term memory would likely be involved in discourse processing. The purposes of this article were to (1) review discourse level deficits associated with aphasia, (2) describe how a deficit at the level of the episodic buffer could cause such deficits, (3) to review discourse treatment approaches for PWAs, and (4) present preliminary results from a novel discourse treatment study for PWAs.

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