Exploring the complexity of aphasia with network analysis

Sameer Ashaie*, Nichol Castro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Aphasia is a complex, neurogenic language disorder, with different aphasia syndromes hallmarked by impairment in fluency, auditory comprehension, naming, and/or repetition. Broad, standardized assessments of language domains and specific language and cognitive assessments provide a holistic impairment profile of a person with aphasia. While many recognize the correlations between assessments, there remains a need to continue understanding the complexity of relationships between assessments for the purpose of better characterization of language impairment profiles of persons with aphasia. We explored the use of network analysis to identify the complex relationships between a variety of language assessments. Method: We computed a regularized partial correlation network and a directed acyclic graph network to estimate the relations between different aphasia assessments in 128 persons with aphasia. Results: Western Aphasia Battery–Revised Comprehension subtest was the most central assessment in the aphasia symptom network, whereas the Philadelphia Naming Test had the most putative causal influence on other assessments. Additionally, the language assessments segregated into three empirically derived communities denoting phonology, semantics, and syntax. Furthermore, several assessments, including the Philadelphia Naming Test, belonged to multiple communities, suggesting that certain assessments may capture multiple language impairments. Conclusion: We discuss the implications of using a network analysis approach for clinical intervention and driving forward novel questions in the field of clinical aphasiology. Supplemental Material: https://doi.org/10.23641/asha. 16620229.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3928-3941
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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