A property level analysis of lexical semantic representation in alzheimer′s disease

S. Smith, M. Faust, M. Beeman, L. Kennedy, D. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In order to assess the hypotheses that Alzheimer′s disease (AD) results in a property level restructuring, loss, or degradation of lexical-semantic knowledge, Alzheimer′s patients and normal elderly subjects were presented with a property verification task in which they were asked to judge the truth value of telegraphic statements which paired objects with their properties (e.g., “Apple is red”). Objects with either high- or low-typical exemplars of categories (e.g., “oak” is a high typical exemplar of the category “tree,” while “palm” is a less typical item). Properties were varied with respect to normatively determined dominance (e.g, “fins” is a high dominant property of “trout,” while “slimy” is a less dominant property) and whether they were distinctive (i.e., served to distinguish between subsets of exemplars within a category) or shared among most or all category members (e.g., “stem” for the category “fruit”). Analyses of accuracy and reaction time data suggested that AD results in neither a loss per se of representation of properties, nor a reorganization of relations between objects′ properties. However, results were consistent with a property level degradation of AD patients′ object concepts. While there was no evidence for a differential degradation of distinctive vs shared properties, results suggested that AD patients have degraded representations of lower dominant properties and properties of low-typical category exemplars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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