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Brain Lang. 2001 Apr;77(1):72-94.

Neuropragmatics: extralinguistic communication after closed head injury.

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Centro di Scienza Cognitiva, Università di Torino, via Lagrange, Turin, 3-10123, Italy.


This work is concerned with the decay of communicative abilities after head trauma. A protocol composed of 16 videotaped scenes was devised in order to investigate the comprehension of several types of communicative actions realized with extralinguistic means, like pointing or clapping. The protocol was administered to 30 closed-head-injured individuals. The results showed that performance decreased from simple standard acts to complex standard acts, deceits, and ironies. The subjects' performance was worse with the scenes reproducing failing, rather than successful, communicative actions. The results are compared with those we previously obtained with a linguistic protocol. A theory of the cognitive processes underlying intentional communication is outlined and used to explain the results.

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