Sunday, January 31, 2010

Luria-- Semantic fragments for repetition and recall

These stories have layers of meaning and complexity

1. Tolstoy's  The Hen and the Golden Eggs-  A man had a hen which laid golden eggs.  He wanted to get more of the eggs at once, and so he killed the hen.  But inside he found nothing; it was just a hen like any other.

2.  Tolstoy's The jackdaw and the Pigeons.  A jackdaw heard that some pigeons had plenty of food.  She painted herself white and flew into the pigeons house.  The pigeons thought she was a pigeon, and took her in.  However, she forgot herself and cried like a jackdaw.  The pigeons then realized she was a jackdaw and sent her away.  She went back to her family, but they did not recognize her, and would not have her either.

3.  Tolstoy's The Ant and the Pigeon.  An ant went down to the stream to drink.  A wave swamped him and he began to drown.  A pigeon flew past him and threw him a  twig.  He climbed on the twig and was saved.

The next day, a hunter set a net and caught the pigeon.  When he took it from the net, however, the ant crawled up stealthily and bit the hunter on his hand.  The hunter cried out and the pigeon flew away. 

4.  The Lion and the mouse.  A lion was asleep and a mouse ran over his body.  The lion awoke and caught the mouse.  The mouse begged him to let her go.  The lion laughed and let her go.  The next day, a hunter caught the lion and tied him with a rope to a tree.  The mouse came through stealthily, gnawed through the rope, and set the lion free.

5.  The Lion and the Fox.  The Lion grew old and  could no longer hunt animals.  So the lion had to learn how to live by cunning.  He lay in his den and pretended to be ill.   The animals came up to him and he ate them.  One day a fox came but would not go into his den.  The lion asked her "Why don't you come in?" The fox replied, " I can see tracks coming into your den but none coming out." 

6.  The Stupid Dog.  A dog was walking over a bridge at night and saw the reflection of the moon in the water. The dog decided it was cheese and jumped into the water.  But of course, she found nothing and only got wet.

Results  patients who had trouble recalling individual words sometimes had no trouble with semantic fragments, and normals had no trouble with 2 successive fragments.  Amnesics would present the semantic content of one part of the story but forget the second part (retroactive inhibition). 

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