Production and evaluation of requests by right hemisphere brain-damaged individuals

Brain Lang. 1994 Jul;47(1):1-31. doi: 10.1006/brln.1994.1040.


Several researchers have investigated the comprehension of "indirect requests" by right hemisphere brain-damaged (RHD) individuals. Until the present, however, no sound description of the phenomenon under investigation has been reached and explanatory attempts of the observed behavior are diverse. Based on a theoretical framework issued from studies in cross-cultural pragmatics, the present study is an attempt to provide a systematic description of the production of request sequences and the evaluation of direct and nonconventionally indirect requests by RHD patients. The analyses of the production data showed that, relative to the control group, the RHD patients behaved differently concerning the application of nonconventionally indirect requests, the use of external request modifiers, the evaluation of nonconventionally indirect requests, and the use of propositions. No differences in production performance were observed with regard to direct requests, conventionally indirect requests, and internal request modifiers. Further, the RHD group and the control group behaved similarly in evaluating direct requests. The results are discussed in relation to previous findings and a mental model approach is proposed as an explanatory framework. The findings suggest that the RHD patients were able to build a mental representation at a text level and a situational level but may have had problems within the realm of monitoring or planning integration processes if more than one mental model is involved. There is some indication that attention and visuospatial abilities may have influenced the verbal and evaluation abilities of the RHD subjects. It seems a worthy endeavor to pursue this issue in future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Role
  • Semantics
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Conformity
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology*