However, the novel stimuli’s underlying family resemblance structure meant that they shared several important attributes with real conceptual categories. 1. Items in a category shared a number of typical characteristics but no single feature was diagnostic of category membership (e.g., most creatures that fly are birds but there are also a number of flightless birds and some non-bird creatures that can fly). Our hypothesis was that the computational challenges posed by these complex, natural categories are met by the
ATLs, which form integrated conceptual representations that allow us to categorise items based on the overall summation of their characteristics rather than relying on a single defining feature. We predicted that SD patients would be impaired in their ability to acquire these integrated representations, selleck compound leading to an over-reliance on individual features to guide their category decisions. Seven patients selleck inhibitor with SD were recruited from memory clinics in northwest and southwest England. All met published diagnostic criteria for SD (Gorno-Tempini et al., 2011 and Hodges et al., 1992), in that they presented with pan-modal conceptual knowledge deficit that affected receptive and expressive tasks. Other aspects of cognition were preserved in all but the
most severe cases: patients were well-oriented in time and space and presented with fluent, grammatically correct speech. However, the case-series was intended to span the full range of severity in semantic performance and one of the most severe cases (N.H.), while initially presenting with a selective semantic impairment, had begun to show signs of decline on other cognitive tasks at the time of the study. Structural neuroimaging indicated bilateral atrophy of the anterior temporal region in each case (see Bay 11-7085 Fig. 2). Patients completed a battery of standard neuropsychological tests. Conceptual knowledge was assessed using elements of the Cambridge Semantic Battery (Bozeat et al., 2000), consisting of tests of picture naming, spoken word–picture matching, pictorial
semantic association (the Camel and Cactus Test) and verbal fluency for six semantic categories. All seven patients performed below the normal range on all tests. As expected, there was a broad range of impairment in conceptual knowledge from mild to very severe (see Table 1; patients are ordered from mild to severe based on word–picture matching scores). General dementia severity was assessed with the Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination-Revised (Mioshi, Dawson, Mitchell, Arnold, & Hodges, 2006) and the Mini Mental State Examination (Folstein, Folstein, & McHugh, 1975). Visuospatial processing was tested using the Rey figure copy and two subtests from the Visual Object and Space Perception battery (Warrington & James, 1991).