Imitation-Based Aphasia Therapy

E. Susan Duncan, Steven L. Small

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Imitation is a key component of many approaches to aphasia testing and rehabilitation. Treatment of aphasia, as a biological impairment, must target plasticity and repair of affected biological systems. The existence of a parieto-frontal mirror neuron system in humans is supported by behavioral, neurophysiological, and brain imaging studies, suggesting that imitation is phylogenetically and ontogenetically subserved by neural mechanisms mapping observed actions onto internal motor representations of the same action. Repetition is associated with the function of the dorsal stream for language, which plays a role in speech perception and comprehension of action language in addition to speech production. These factors make imitation, which has long been used in speech therapy to enhance accurate speech output, a suitable target for language rehabilitation. Aphasia therapies primarily targeting imitation include IMITATE and speech entrainment. Many aphasia therapies used clinically and in research rely heavily on imitation and choral reading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeurobiology of Language
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780124078628
ISBN (Print)9780124077942
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aphasia
  • Imitation
  • Mirror neurons
  • Neurobiology of language
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech entrainment
  • Speech therapy
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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