Topic use following right hemisphere brain damage during three semi-structured conversational discourse samples

Marian Brady, Catherine Mackenzie, Linda Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Right hemisphere brain damage (RHBD) has been linked to a diverse range of discourse-level communicative deficits generally based on subjective impressions. Investigative evidence to support or refute the reports is limited and what evidence is available is frequently restricted in the conclusions it can make as a result of small sample sizes, inadequate reporting of onset time, and site of lesion. Comparisons with matched NBD individuals' performance are rare. Many of the descriptions could reflect a difficulty with the use of topic. Disorganised, verbose, tangential discourse with poor topic maintenance may reflect difficulties with the structural aspects of topic use, i.e., topic coherence. Other descriptions of discourse with an excessive focus on details, personalisations, and anecdotal elements are also prevalent but are not reflected within a topic coherence model. They may be linked to a deficit in the management of topic on an utterance by utterance level. The aim of this study was to explore topic coherence and topic management during semi-structured conversational discourse by individuals with RHBD as a result of stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-904
Number of pages24
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2003



  • stroke
  • right hemisphere brain damage
  • rehabilitation

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