Generating proper names: A case of selective inability

Carlo Semenza, Marina Zettin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports the study of a brain-injured patient with a selective inability to generate various types of proper names. Auditory and reading comprehension for the same category were both fairly intact. As in other similar cases the deficit is believed to be at the level of the output lexicon, which would therefore be presumed to be categorically organised. The question considered is why certain lexical categories are selectively impaired or preserved. A single answer is difficult to find and may be irnPossible to obtain since there appears to be nothing in common among these categories. As far as proper names are concerned a distinction between them and common names that may justify independent processing is to be found in the thoughts of some modern philosophers. According to them the function of proper names, unlike common names, is simply to refer to the object so named and not to describe them by any property.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-721
Number of pages11
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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