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Learning of face -name associations by adults with traumatic brain injury: Effects of an error reduction strategy and live versus photographic stimuli

Wendy A Gagnon, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) has devastating physical, cognitive and behavioral consequences for survivors. Memory impairment is a common result of brain injury and affects numerous aspects of daily functioning. For many persons with brain injury, memory impairment affects their ability to remember the names of familiar people and learn the names of new acquaintances. Survivors of brain injury often find themselves socially isolated and difficulties with names add to their social challenges. Errorless learning offers promise as an intervention for memory impairment and has been successfully used to teach names to survivors of brain injury. Photographs have been the stimuli of choice in studies of face-name associations; the use of real people has seldom been explored. The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to investigate how errorless learning principles rather than trial and error learning could be applied to the learning of face-name associations by persons with TBI and (2) to investigate the effectiveness of using live versus photographic stimuli when persons with brain injury attempt to learn face-name associations. Generalization across time was investigated to determine whether differences existed between errorless and trial-and-error learning and whether photographic and live conditions affected generalization of face-name associations. Eight participants with severe TBI received training twice daily to learn the names of staff members at the rehabilitation facility where the participants resided. Procedures for training each of four names differed according to experimental condition based on the type of stimuli and whether guessing was discouraged or not: (1) live/no guess; (2) live/guess; (3) photo/no guess, and (4) photo/guess. Results showed that errorless learning procedures were not effective in reducing errors made by participants. Further, the use of live stimuli was no more effective than photographs. Despite these results, participants demonstrated learning with three participants mastering the four target names. The remaining participants demonstrated varying degrees of learning, but all required fewer letter cues to generate the target name as training progressed. Detailed results, possible explanations, and clinical implications are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Gagnon, Wendy A, "Learning of face -name associations by adults with traumatic brain injury: Effects of an error reduction strategy and live versus photographic stimuli" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3152609.