Inference in conversation of adults with traumatic brain injury
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OBJECTIVE: To examine elaborative and automatic linguistic inferences in conversations between adults with and without traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their frequent communication partners. DESIGN AND METHODS: Participants with TBI were four female and three male adults and seven female communication partners. Comparison peers were two males and five females and one male and six female communication partners. Each participant completed 20-minute video-recorded conversation with his or her frequent communication partner. Conversations were transcribed, implicatures were identified and the percentage of correct inferences was determined. Inferences were categorized as automatic or elaborative and as missed or understood. RESULTS: Participants in both groups made significantly more errors on elaborative inferences than automatic inferences and participants with TBI made significantly more elaborative inference errors than comparison peers. There was no significant between-groups difference in error rates for automatic inferences. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with TBI may show impairments in social language skills not only on standardized tests but also in everyday conversations. This may contribute to everyday partners' perceptions of social communication problems in adults with TBI.
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