Inner speech deficits in people with aphasia

Frontiers in Psychology 6:1-10 (2015)
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Despite the ubiquity of inner speech in our mental lives, methods for objectively assessing inner speech capacities remain underdeveloped. The most common means of assessing inner speech is to present participants with tasks requiring them to silently judge whether two words rhyme. We developed a version of this task to assess the inner speech of a population of patients with aphasia and corresponding language production deficits. As expected, patients’ performance on the silent rhyming task was severely impaired relative to controls. More surprisingly, however, patients’ performance on this task did not correlate with their performance on a variety of other standard tests of overt language abilities. In particular, patients who were generally unimpaired in their abilities to overtly name objects during confrontation naming tasks, and who could reliably judge when two words spoken to them rhymed, were still severely impaired (relative to controls) at completing the silent rhyme task. This seems to suggest that inner speech was more severely impaired in these patients than outer speech. However, these results should also cause us to critically reflect on the relation between inner speech and silent rhyme judgments more generally.

Author Profiles

Peter Langland-Hassan
University of Cincinnati
Frank Faries
University of Cincinnati (PhD)


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