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Aprosodia Subsequent to Right Hemisphere Brain Damage: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2021

Melissa D. Stockbridge*
Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
Shannon-M. Sheppard
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Chapman University, Irvine, CA, USA
Lynsey M. Keator
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
Laura L. Murray
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
Margaret Lehman Blake
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
*Correspondence and reprint requests to: Melissa D. Stockbridge, Department of Neurology, 600 North Wolfe Street, Phipps 4, Suite 446, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA. E-mail:



To identify which aspects of prosody are negatively affected subsequent to right hemisphere brain damage (RHD) and to evaluate the methodological quality of the constituent studies.


Twenty-one electronic databases were searched to identify articles from 1970 to February 2020 by entering keywords. Eligibility criteria for articles included a focus on adults with acquired RHD, prosody as the primary research topic, and publication in a peer-reviewed journal. A quality appraisal was conducted using a rubric adapted from Downs and Black (1998).


Of the 113 articles appraised as eligible and appropriate for inclusion, 71 articles were selected to undergo data extraction for both meta-analyses of population effect size estimates and qualitative synthesis. Across all domains of prosody, the effect estimate was g = 2.51 [95% CI (1.94, 3.09), t = 8.66, p < 0.0001], based on 129 contrasts between RHD and non-brain-damaged healthy controls (NBD), indicating a significant random effects model. This effect size was driven by findings in emotional prosody, g = 2.48 [95% CI (1.76, 3.20), t = 6.88, p < 0.0001]. Overall, studies of higher quality (r pb = 0.18, p < 0.001) and higher sample size/contrast ratio (r pb = 0.25, p < 0.001) were more likely to report significant differences between RHD and NBD participants.


The results confirm consistent evidence for emotional prosody deficits in the RHD population. Inconsistent evidence was observed across linguistic prosody domains and pervasive methodological issues were identified across studies, regardless of their prosody focus. These findings highlight the need for more rigorous and sufficiently high-powered designs to examine prosody subsequent to RHD, particularly within the linguistic prosody domain.

Critical Review
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2021

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Group members: Hiram Brownell, Psychology, Boston College; Joseph Duffy, Speech Pathology/Neurology, Mayo Clinic; Perrine Ferré, University Geriatrics Institute of Montréal; Argye Hillis-Trupe, Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Jerry K. Hoepner, Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire; Yves Joanette, University Geriatrics Institute of Montréal & University of Montréal; Kristine Lundgren, Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of North Carolina Greensboro; Jamila Minga, Communication Sciences and Disorders, North Carolina Central University; Connie Tompkins, Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh.


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