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September 1981

The Aprosodias: Functional-Anatomic Organization of the Affective Components of Language in the Right Hemisphere

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center, Dallas.

Arch Neurol. 1981;38(9):561-569. doi:10.1001/archneur.1981.00510090055006

• It was recently proposed that the affective components of language, encompassing prosody and emotional gesturing, are a dominant function of the right hemisphere, and that their functional-anatomic organization in the right hemisphere mirrors that of propositional language in the left hemisphere. Ten righthanded patients with focal lesions of the right hemisphere and disorders of affective language are described. Observations were made about each patient's spontaneous prosody, prosodic repetition, prosodic comprehension, and comprehension of emotional gesturing. Using this particular examination strategy, which is derived from the usual bedside approach to aphasic disorders, the organization of affective language in the right hemisphere does mirror the organization of propositional language in the left hemisphere. Furthermore, the disorders of affective language seem to be classifiable in the same manner as the aphasias. Thus, the term "aprosodia," preceded by specific modifiers such as motor, global, transcortical sensory, etc, seems appropriate when classifying the various disorders of affective language that occur following right-hemisphere damage. The relationships between affect, mood, pathologic laughing and crying, and depression are also discussed.

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