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Semantic priming impairment in HIV.

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Semantic priming impairment in HIV.

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 1997 Jul;3(4):348-58

Authors: Nielsen-Bohlman L, Boyle D, Biggins C, Ezekiel F, Fein G

Abstract
HIV+ subjects have shown impairment on tests of executive function including automatic attention and verbal tasks. Impairment of semantic priming in HIV patients would suggest a disruption of automatic semantic activation. We examined semantic priming in HIV+ individuals and HIV- control participants with no history of substance abuse, neurologic or psychiatric disorder unrelated to HIV. HIV+ participants were divided into cognitively normal and cognitively impaired subgroups on the basis of a neuropsychological battery of 15 tests. Participants were presented with English words and nonword letter strings and indicated if the stimulus was a word or nonword. The nonwords were orthographically and phonologically correct and were created by rearranging the letter sequence of words (“ulpit”). All words had an obvious antonym (“deep”); two-thirds were presented as sequential antonym pairs (“enter”-“exit”). There were no group differences in speed of response to nonwords, indicating no generalized reaction time deficit. While control and cognitively normal HIV+ participants showed an effect of priming on reaction time to correctly detected words, cognitively impaired HIV+ participants did not. The lack of semantic priming demonstrated by cognitively impaired HIV+ participants suggests that they have lessened activation of automatic semantic networks.

PMID: 9260444 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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