Aphasia and the presence of language in dreams

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

A study was done to ascertain the presence of dreams and the quality of language in dreams in patients with aphasia. 24 aphasic subjects were interviewed using Kagan's (1998) Supported Conversation for Adults with Aphasia (SCA) technique of communication. The main hypothesis investigated was that aphasic patients would experience a better quality of language while dreaming than while awake. Severity being kept constant, aphasia in its acute stage displays greater discrepancy between pre- morbid and morbid language abilities than in its recovering, chronic stage. Therefore, a secondary hypothesis was formulated whereby the difference between language in waking life and language in dreams would be more significant in acute aphasics than in chronic aphasics. Thirdly, it was hypothesized that fluent aphasics would experience less dreaming, if any, since posterior lesions have been found to correlate with cessation or reduction in dreaming. Language in dreams was found to be significantly better than language in waking life amongst the 63% of subjects who reported dreaming. Differences in trends between the categories i) acute and chronic and ii) fluent and non- fluent aphasics, that is the second and third hypotheses, did not achieve statistical significance.