Informations and abstract
The present work studies the communicative impairment in subjects with closed head injury (CHI) within the framework of a communicative competence theory. We hypothesize that the metacognitive deficit caused by CHI trauma impairs some communicative functions such as the ability to use of an inferential metalevel, and the ability to deal with communicative information in absence of syntax. Two groups of CHI subjects, namely 13 and 30, were tested respectively on linguistic and extralinguistic tasks. The main results confirm in both communicative modalities a significant gap between the ability to deal with communicative acts that require the inferential meta-level (not standard acts, such as deception and irony) and that do not require it (standard acts, such as directs and indirects). Moreover, the main difference between linguistic and extralinguistic communication resides in the presence of a syntactic guide: extralinguistic communicative comprehension rests wholly on the subject's logical, inferential and integrative capacities. In patients who lack them, such as CHI patients, it implies a significant loss of extralinguistic communicative ability.