Computerized visual communication (C-ViC) uses the sequential placement of icons displayed on a computer screen to create sentences, using a visual symbol vocabulary and a left to-right grammar. Since its introduction in the mid- 1980's, it has proven to be usable for two-way communication with global aphasics who were unable to produce or comprehend natural language. In this project we propose the first controlled efficacy study of C-ViC using a structured teaching program developed by Dr. Baker in this Center. The first and second study use a treatment/no treatment cross-over design to evaluate treatment efficacy both in two phases of on site training (Phase I and Phase III and in home training with the spouse as interlocutor (Phase III). The remaining four studies are experimental analyses of several basic cognitive underpinnings of C-ViC. Study 3 uses psychophysical techniques to examine the number of icons per visual presentation field that can be scanned most efficiently by the C-ViC user. Study 4 manipulates the load on working memory to determine the role of this factor in C-ViC use. Study 5 examines the capacity of patients for category identification, in comparison to basic object identification. Both levels of object recognition are intimately involved in the C-ViC process but they do not appear to be equally impaired by severe aphasia. Study 6 - Verb icons are generally harder to use than noun icons, in particular, because most common verbs have many situation-specific meanings that are only conceptually or metaphorically related (e.g. 'open' a box vs 'open' a meeting.) This study examines patients' limits in grasping conceptual extensions of verb meaning.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Boston University
United States
Zip Code
Zeng, Yong; Petralia, Ronald S; Vijayasarathy, Camasamudram et al. (2016) Retinal Structure and Gene Therapy Outcome in Retinoschisin-Deficient Mice Assessed by Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 57:OCT277-87
Kurowski, Kathleen; Blumstein, Sheila E (2016) Phonetic basis of phonemic paraphasias in aphasia: Evidence for cascading activation. Cortex 75:193-203
Mirman, Daniel; Yee, Eiling; Blumstein, Sheila E et al. (2011) Theories of spoken word recognition deficits in aphasia: evidence from eye-tracking and computational modeling. Brain Lang 117:53-68
Myung, Jong-yoon; Blumstein, Sheila E; Yee, Eiling et al. (2010) Impaired access to manipulation features in Apraxia: evidence from eyetracking and semantic judgment tasks. Brain Lang 112:101-12
Kurowski, Kathleen M; Blumstein, Sheila E; Palumbo, Carole L et al. (2007) Nasal consonant production in Broca's and Wernicke's aphasics: speech deficits and neuroanatomical correlates. Brain Lang 100:262-75
Connor, L (2001) Memory in old age: patterns of decline and preservation. Semin Speech Lang 22:117-25