Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Speech-Language Pathology

Department or School/College

Communicative Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Julie Wolter, Ph.D.

Commitee Members

Catherine Off PhD., Jenna Griffin M.S., Craig McFarland PhD.


Salience, Aphasia, Naming, Anomia


University of Montana


Translational research has led to aphasia therapies that incorporate principles of experience dependent neuroplasticity. The neuroplasticity principle of salience has received less attention from speech language pathologists than other principles, such as dose and treatment intensity. Incorporating salience in aphasia therapies has the potential to increase functional outcomes by addressing multiple aspects of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. This study explored the impact of salient stimuli targets on picture naming acquisition and maintenance for two individuals with chronic aphasia, following cerebrovascular accident. Participants were enrolled in a five-week Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Program (ICAP) at the time of the study. A single subject A-B-A research design was implemented to assess the role of saliency during naming acquisition. Photographic stimuli were created from “salient” words chosen by each participant. Control photographic stimuli matched the salient targets’ syllable length and frequency. Three baseline probes assessed pre-treatment naming accuracy, three naming probes were delivered during the treatment phrase, and three post-treatment probes were delivered within one week of the last intervention. Twelve, forty- five-minute, evidence-based treatment sessions were implemented during the treatment phase of the study. Effect sizes for the salient stimuli were large for both participants: P1 (d=4.04), P2 (d=4.08). The control stimuli effect size for P1 was large (d=2.14) and medium (d=.64) for P2. This preliminary study suggests that incorporating salient targets in confrontational naming therapies increases naming acquisition and maintenance of naming targets. Implications for these findings further support the use of person specific, highly motivating, salient stimuli in anomia therapies to increase functional outcomes and quality of life.



© Copyright 2019 Kathy Kay Molesh, Catherine Off Ph.D., Craig McFarland Ph.D., and Jenna Griffin M.S.