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Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica

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MACHADO, Olivia; CORREIA, Sheilla de Medeiros  and  MANSUR, Letícia Lessa. Performance of normal Brazilian adults in a semantic test: effect of literacy. Pró-Fono R. Atual. Cient. [online]. 2007, vol.19, n.3, pp.289-294. ISSN 0104-5687.

BACKGROUND: modern concepts on the neuropsychological bases of language consider that its network has a direct relation with the support systems such as attention and memory. Semantic memory constitutes the basis of knowledge, communication and learning. Semantic knowledge is consolidated with the exposure to information and the possibility to integrate information. Thus, aging and literacy can be associated to semantic knowledge. AIM: to analyze in normal Brazilian adults the interference of literacy through the performance in a semantic test. Method: 56 normal Brazilian adults, 20 males and 36 females, with ages between 20 and 56 years and literacy between 1 and 20 years. Participants were divided in two groups according to years of literacy: Group 1 (n = 31) with 1 to 8 years and Group 2 (n=25) with more than 8 years. The semantic test consisted on the presentation of questions related to 10 pictures. These questions involved: category, physical traces and function. After the questions, the naming of the pictures was requested. RESULTS: the level of literacy had an influence on the performance of the participants. There were differences between the groups regarding the judgment of the semantic traces and in the naming task: Group 2 presented better scores in most of the tasks. Negative questions presented a higher number o errors. The qualitative analyses of the answers obtained in the naming task indicate that the animated figures presented a higher number of deviant answers, with a higher occurrence of substitutions by a coordinated answer. CONCLUSION: it was possible to observe that low literacy levels had a negative influence on the performance presented in tasks involving semantic knowledge, judgment of traces and naming, particularly when involving animated pictures.

Keywords : Cognition Disorders; Diagnosis; Semantics; Educational Status; Neuropsychological Tests.

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