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Isolation Aphasia A Case of Global Unawareness.docx

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PSYC 3325
John Usher

Isolation Aphasia: A Case of Global Unawareness ● Geschwind, Quandfasel and Segarra – described case of woman who had suffered sever brain damage from inhaling CO from faulty water heater  damage spared primary auditory cortex, speech areas of brain and connections between two  damage destroyed large parts of visual association cortex and isolated speech mechnisms from other parts of brain  isolation aphasia – language disturbance that includes inability to comprehend speech or to produce meaningful speech without affecting ability to repeat speech and to learn new sequences of words; caused by brain damage that isolates brain's speech mechanisms from other parts of brain  woman's speech mechanisms could receive auditory input and could control muscles used for speech, but received no information from other senses or from neural circuits that contain memories concerning past experiences and meaning of words  woman made few movements except with her eyes which were able to follow moving objects – gave no evidence of recognizing objects or people  didn't spontaneously say anything, answer questions, or give signs that she understood what other people said to her  could repeat words that were spoken to her and she could finish poems she knew and learned new poems and songs ● case suggests that consciousness is not simply activity of brain's speech mechanisms – it is activity prompted by information received from other parts of brain concerning memories or events presently occuring in environment Visual Agnosia: Lack of Awareness of Visual Perceptions ● visual agnosia – inability of person who is not blind to recognize identity of an object visually; caused by brain damage to visual association cortex  can have difficulty visually recognizing objects or pictures of objects but can made hand movements that appear to be related to oject and by paying attention to those movements can identify object  visual system worked well enough to initiate appropriate non-verbal behaviour, though not appropriate words  patient lost ability to read but was taught to use finger spelling to read – couldn't say what letter was but could make particular hand movement when he saw it; learned ASL finger- spelling alphabet and could read slowly by making hand movements for each letter and feeling words his hands spelled out ● supports conclusion that consciousness is synony
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