Abstract semantic associative network training: A replication and update of an abstract word retrieval therapy program

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: We report on a study that replicates previous treatment studies using Abstract Semantic Associative Network Training (AbSANT), which was developed to help persons with aphasia improve their ability to retrieve abstract words, as well as thematically related concrete words. We hypothesized that previous results would be replicated; that is, when abstract words are trained using this protocol, improvement would be observed for both abstract and concrete words in the same context-category, but when concrete words are trained, no improvement for abstract words would be observed. We then frame the results of this study with the results of previous studies that used AbSANT to provide better evidence for the utility of this therapeutic technique. We also discuss proposed mechanisms of AbSANT. Method: Four persons with aphasia completed one phase of concrete word training and one phase of abstract word training using the AbSANT protocol. Effect sizes were calculated for each word type for each phase. Effect sizes for this study are compared with the effect sizes from previous studies. Results: As predicted, training abstract words resulted in both direct training and generalization effects, whereas training concrete words resulted in only direct training effects. The reported results are consistent across studies. Furthermore, when the data are compared across studies, there is a distinct pattern of the added benefit of training abstract words using AbSANT. Conclusion: Treatment for word retrieval in aphasia is most often aimed at concrete words, despite the usefulness and pervasiveness of abstract words in everyday conversation. We show the utility of AbSANT as a means of improving not only abstract word retrieval but also concrete word retrieval and hope this evidence will help foster its application in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1574-1595
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'Abstract semantic associative network training: A replication and update of an abstract word retrieval therapy program'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this