The Effects of Auditory Distraction on Discourse Retell Tasks in Traumatic Brain Injury
Thesis DisciplineSpeech and Language Therapy
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Speech and Language Therapy
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of auditory distraction on the discourse production abilities of adults with traumatic brain injury. Narrative and persuasive discourse-retelling abilities were compared in ten adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and ten healthy, aged-matched control participants. Narrative and persuasive retellings were analysed according to language measures (e.g. number of words, number of T-units, mean length of T-units and sentential complexity); information measures (e.g. number of propositions, number of episodic structure elements, and number of global structure components) and ability to generate a moral or aim. A modified version of Damico’s Clinical Discourse Analysis (1992) was included as a further measurement of pragmatic ability for the persuasive genre. The effect of auditory distraction upon passage recall and discourse production abilities was investigated by employing two experimental conditions: (1) no distraction and (2) multitalker babble at 80db. The adults with TBI differed significantly from the non-TBI comparison group for the language domain (sentential complexity), information domain (episodic structure) and generation of a moral or aim. Significant genre differences were documented, for the language domain (number of words and number of T-units), all measures in the information domain, and generation of a moral or aim. No condition effect was found, across group or genre. The results are examined alongside a number of theories including working memory, genre demands and perception of distraction. Clinical implications for assessment and intervention within the TBI population are discussed.