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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/317

Title: Investigating the neuropsychological bases of script knowledge: differential effects of executive dysfunction and semantic impairment in dementia
Authors: Cosentino, Stephanie A.
Keywords: Psychology;Schemas (Psychology);Dementia
Issue Date: 15-Jun-2004
Abstract: Objectives: Scripts, or multi-step plans of behavior characterized by typical objects, actions, and locations, serve as important links between knowledge of the world and goal directed behavior. Existing research on the neuropsychological basis of script knowledge posits that scripts are stored as unitary knowledge structures in the prefrontal cortex. However, patterns of impaired script knowledge in patients with prefrontal compromise suggest that scripts are likely multidimensional in nature, supported by multiple neural networks. The main goal of the current study was to systematically explore this idea, and specifically, to assess the extent to which executive and semantic processes support script knowledge. Methods: A novel test was created to dissociate the role of executive functioning and semantic knowledge in script knowledge. This test was administered to patients with various types dementia affecting prefrontal and temporal cortex, including Alzheimer’s disease (n = 15) and subtypes of frontotemporal dementia [semantic dementia (SD; n = 13); behavioral disorder dysexecutive (BDD; n = 12)]. Results: Consistent with predictions, patients with BDD exhibited significantly more errors of script organization/sequencing than errors of semantic content, and these errors were correlated most highly with performance on tests of executive functioning. Further, patients with BDD made significantly more sequencing errors than patients with AD. Patients with AD and SD were predicted to make significantly more semantic errors than sequencing errors, however, results did not support this dissociation. It is likely that impaired semantic knowledge in these groups led patients to commit a similar number of semantic and sequencing errors since the test was administered in verbal format. Conclusions: Collectively, findings from the current study implicate the involvement of at least two large-scale neural networks in sustaining script knowledge, and suggest that there are multiple ways in which this knowledge can deteriorate. This multidimensional view of script knowledge is inconsistent with the view that scripts are stored as unitary knowledge structures in the prefrontal cortex.
URI: http://dspace.library.drexel.edu/handle/1860/317
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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