Facebook pixel
Go to home page

Impaired Discourse Gist and Working Memory in Children after Brain Injury

A happy diverse group of kids/children/youths in red uniforms on a field. IStock# 497272583


Sandra B. Chapman, Jacquelyn F. Gamino, Lori G. Cook, Gerri Hanten, Xiaoqi Li and Harvey S. Levin

Read full research article


Prior studies have shown that suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in childhood can impair the ability to summarize meaningful information from a larger given source of content (discourse gist). Producing a well-formed summary involves many complex brain functions. This task relies on associated memory abilities including both immediate and working memory. To measure these proposed differences between injured and uninjured children, this study took a new approach by examining summary production with rating of a summary's well-formedness, working memory, and immediate memory. As hypothesized, results demonstrated that children with TBI had decreased performance on the summary production task and working memory tasks. Interestingly though, the immediate memory for a word list was comparable between the injured and uninjured groups. Further, there was a relationship between working memory and the ability to produce a meaningful summary and the ability to recall given information. The study expanded the evidence that children with TBI struggle with abstraction and more complex cognitive tasks even when other basic functions (immediate memory) are comparable with uninjured children. Following these results that identified the specific areas of cognitive impairment, the next course of action would be to determine if targeted cognitive interventions could reduce these impairments even years after brain injury.
S.B. Chapman et al. / Brain and Language 97 (2006) 178–188: Appendix A

Appendix A shows the criteria used to assess and rate the well-formedness of the children's summaries.

Share this article


Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

Chief Director Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project

Jacquelyn Gamino, PhD

Director of Adolescent Reasoning Initiative Assistant Research Professor