A pantomime recognition test was developed to study the extent of impairment of pantomime recognition and the relationship between pantomime recognition and verbal deficits in aphasics. This test requires no verbal instructions to the subject and only a simple pointing response. A description and rationale for the test are presented. This new test and three tests of verbal abilities (Verbal Recognition Test, Naming Test, and the Porch Index of Communicative Ability) were administered to four groups of subjects: aphasics, right hemisphere damaged, subcortically damaged, and normals. Results indicate greater impairment of pantomime recognition ability in aphasics than the other groups of subjects and high correlations between impairment of pantomime recognition and impairment of verbal abilities in aphasics. The findings are consistent with previous clinical reports and experimental data showing that aphasics commonly demonstrate impairment in gesture and pantomime. The authors conclude that aphasia is best understood as a general impairment of symbolic communication that includes nonverbal as well as verbal deficits.
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