History of Studying Semantic Aphasia Mechanisms (Based on Materials from Lurian Archive)


The scientific heritage of Alexander Luria is vast and not completely studied. His scientific archive includes a range of documents that academics have never encountered. We analyzed the history of Luria’s research of semantic aphasia, specifically as it is related to the impairment of visuospatial processing. For this purpose, we investigated unpublished archive materials dating back to 1928–1940, particularly the monograph ‘Parietal Aphasia’ from 1940. The literature regarding the history of the issue and neurophysiological and linguistic interpretations of semantic aphasia is discussed in detail by Luria. We also introduce Luria’s diagnostic manual
for the semantic impairment of language and describe the syndrome structure of semantic aphasia. To conclude, we discuss the specificity of semantic aphasia analysis in the pre-war monograph compared to later studies.

Keywords: semantic aphasia, visuospatial processing, temporal-parietal-occipital association area, A.R. Luria, neuropsychology, neurolinguistics, history of psychology

[1] Luria, A. R. (1970). Traumatic Aphasia. The Hague: Mouton. [Russian edition 1947.]

[2] Luria, A. R. (1980). Higher Cortical Functions in Man. New York, NY: Basic Book. [Russian edition 1969.]

[3] Luria, A. R. (1973). The Working Brain: An Introduction to Neuropsychology. New York, NY: Basic Books Inc. [Russian edition 1973.]

[4] Luria, A. R. (1976). Basic Problems of Neurolinguistics. The Hague: Mouton. [Russian edition 1975.]

[5] Luria, A. R. (1987). The Man with a Shattered World. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. [Russian edition 1971.]

[6] Luria, A. R. (2006). The Autobiography of Alexander Luria: A Dialogue with the Making of Mind. Edited by M. Cole and K. Levitin. Mahwah, New Jersey: L. Erlbaum Associates. [Russian edition 1982.]

[7] Luria, A. R. (1940). Uchenie ob afazii v svete mozgovoj patologii. Chast’ II. Temennaja (semanticheskaja) afazija [The doctrine of aphasia in the light of cerebral pathology. Part II. Parietal (semantic) aphasia]. Moscow. [Unpublished document from the E.G. Radkovskaya archive.]

[8] Goldstein, K., and Gelb, A. (1924). Über Farbennahmenamnesie. Psychologische Forschung, vol. 6.

[9] Head, H. (1926). Aphasia and Kindred Disorders of Speech, vol. I–2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[10] Vygotsky, L. S. (1988). The collected works of L.S. Vygotsky. Vol. 1: Problems of General Psychology, including the volume Thinking and Speech. Edited by R. W. Rieber and A. S. Carton. New York, NY: Plenum Press. [Russian edition 1934.]

[11] Vygotsky, L. S. (1993). The diagnostics of development and the pedological clinic for difficult children. The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky, Vol. 2: The Fundamentals of Defectology, pp. 241–291). New York, NY: Plenum Press. [Russian edition 1936.]

[12] Luria, A. R. (1943). Ocherki po teorii travmaticheskih afazij [Essays on the theory of traumatic aphasia]. Kisegach. [Unpublished document from the E.G. Radkovskaya archive.]

[13] Vygotsky, L. S. (1967). Play and its role in the mental development of the child. Soviet Psychology, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 6–18. [Published in Russian in 1933 and 1966.]

[14] Vygotsky, L. S. (1997). Preface to Koffka. The problem of development in structural psychology. A critical investigation. The collected works of L.S. Vygotsky, Vol. 3, pp. 195–232. New York, NY: Plenum Press. [Published in Russian in 1934.]

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[17] Slobin, D. (1966). Grammatical transformations and sentence comprehension. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 219–222.

[18] Tsvetkova, L. S. (1975). The naming process and its impairment, in E. H. Lenneberg and E. Lenneberg (eds.) Foundations of language: A Multidisciplinary Approach. New York/London: Academic Press. [Russian edition 1972.]

[19] Akhutina, T. V., and Malakhovskaya, Ye. V. (1985). Signifikativnoye znacheniye slova pri afazii [Significative meaning of the word for aphasia]. Moscow University Bulletin. Series 14, Psychology, vol. 1, pp. 29–38. [In Russian.]

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[21] Akhutina, T. (2016). Luria’s classification of aphasias and its theoretical basis. Aphasiology, vol. 30, no. 8, pp. 1–20.