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Picture description in neurologically normal adults: Concepts and topic coherence

MacKenzie, C. and Brady, M. and Norrie, J. and Poedjianto, N. (2007) Picture description in neurologically normal adults: Concepts and topic coherence. Aphasiology, 21 (3/4). pp. 340-354. ISSN 0268-7038

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Evaluation of discourse is recognised as an important component in the diagnosis and management of adult acquired communication disorders. Picture description is a common and practical data elicitation procedure that has provided insights into the discourse of many adult groups. Such data may be analysed from several linguistic and pragmatic perspectives and, as is commonly the case with discourse measures, the usefulness of such data is limited by a paucity of relevant normative information. Both analyses, concept and topic coherence, confirmed education level as a highly important variable affecting the performance of non-brain-damaged adults. The number of concepts used accurately and completely, and the amount of topic subdivision, increased with amount of education (both with and without adjustment for age and gender). Clear influences of age or gender were not demonstrated, although some trends in favour of women and younger age were noted, and for one of the seven assessed concepts there was a steady reduction in the odds of being accurate and complete with every 5-year age increase.