Neurocase, 21, p. 418-428 (2015); doi:10.1080/13554794.2014.917680
We present a single case of a right-handed female patient, RH, who was categorized as suffering from conduction aphasia. She presented no articulatory problems during spontaneous speech but made a significant number of phonological paraphasias in naming and repetition tasks. The number of errors increased for long words and pseudowords. This pattern of results points to damage in the “Phonological Output Buffer” (POB) as the basis of this disorder. However, this patient did not make mistakes when reading words and pseudowords aloud, even when we introduced a delay between the presentation of the word and its production to test the working memory resources of the phonological buffer. Furthermore, the patient’s ability to name objects, repeat words, and write to dictation improved with her degree of familiarity with the items. The damage could be situated at the point where phonemes are selected and ordered to produce words. We posit that the deficits observed in this patient, and the differences encountered between her performance and that of others described in the literature, in particular in reading tasks, can be explained by considering POB damage to be gradual in nature. According to this explanation, the performance of patients with damage to the POB will depend on the amount of information provided by the stimulus (word/nonword), the language particularities (regular/irregular), and the nature of the task demands (repetition, writing, naming, or reading).