The role of cognitive control and naming in aphasia

Biol Futur. 2024 Mar;75(1):129-143. doi: 10.1007/s42977-024-00212-8. Epub 2024 Feb 29.


The classical aphasia literature has placed considerable emphasis on the language-centered understanding of aphasia and failed to consider the role of executive functions (EFs) regarding different aspects of patients' performance. Many current studies suggest deficits in EFs in individuals with aphasia, however, the available data is still limited. Here, our aim was to investigate the impairment of EFs and its potential negative effects on naming (slower performance, increased reaction time and/or decreased accuracy). We sought to determine whether the poor performance observed in word fluency task correlated with similar outcomes in naming. Our study involved five Hungarian post stroke aphasic patients (2 males and 3 females) between the ages of 60 and 70, as well as a control group matched for age and gender. The participants were diagnosed with different types of aphasia (global, Wernicke's, anomic and conduction). This study employed various neuropsychological and linguistic batteries. By comparing the patients' performance to that of the control group, we aimed to investigate the impacts of stroke. Within the aphasia group, we observed difficulties in following complex commands and a connection between general slowness and reduced accuracy in naming. We concluded that impairment of executive functions may have a negative impact on naming, comprehension, and fluency. Therefore, it is important to consider functional variations in neural networks, and to base our interpretations on the available psychophysiological data in literature. Our findings provide an alternative perspective to the traditional assessment of aphasia and highlight the importance of considering the role of executive functions.

Keywords: Aphasia; Multiple case study; Naming fluency; Working memory.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aphasia* / etiology
  • Aphasia* / physiopathology
  • Aphasia* / psychology
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Executive Function* / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests