An Analysis of Right Hemisphere Stroke Discourse in the Modern Cookie Theft Picture

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Adults with right hemisphere damage demonstrate differences in connected speech compared to controls, but systematic, quantitative methods to capture these differences are lacking. The current study aimed to (a) investigate if measures using the Modern Cookie Theft picture description would identify discourse differences in acute right hemisphere stroke, and (b) examine if discourse differences were associated with documented cognitive impairment.


Eighty-four participants completed the Modern Cookie Theft picture description within 5 days of right hemisphere stroke. Descriptions were analyzed for multiple microlinguistic characteristics. Medical charts were retrospectively reviewed for documented presence of cognitive impairment.


Individuals with acute right hemisphere stroke produced fewer content units, total syllables, and lower left–right content unit ratios compared to controls, indicating a paucity of informativeness. Presence of cognitive impairment was associated with fewer content units produced.


Multiple measures of microlinguistic discourse characteristics differentiated adults with right hemisphere stroke from controls, highlighting variations in both the quantity and quality of connected speech. Findings continue to underscore the contribution and correlation between cognitive skills and discourse performance. Future work is needed to assess the relationship between particular cognitive domains and discourse production as well as to investigate longitudinal changes to discourse production during stroke recovery.


This article was originally published in American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, volume 31, supplement 5, in 2022.

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American Speech-Language-Hearing Association