Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Charlotte A. Wasson


This study attempted to determine the effects of cognitive-communicative functioning in individuals who have sustained closed head injury on learnability of Blissymbols. Two features of Blissymbols, translucency and complexity, were examined to find their effects on Blissymbol learnability. Another focus of the study was to determine the effects of translucency and complexity interaction on learnability. The final research question concerned the relationship of cognitive-communicative functioning and Blissymbol learnability. Nine Subject, each rated with the Ranch Los Amigo Scale of Cognitive Functioning, participated in a task that required learning forty Blissymbols in a paired-associative learning task. The subjects were divided into three groups; Group One contained Level III/IV subjects, Group Two contained Level V/VI subjects, and Group Three contained Level VII/VIII subjects. Forty Blissymbols utilized in this study encompassed four conditions: 1) high translucency-high complexity (HTHC), 2) high translucency-low complexity (HTLC), 3) low translucency-high complexity (LTHC), and 4) low translucency-low complexity (LTLC). Each condition was represented by ten symbols. Subjects were required to point to each symbol five times as the label was called orally.

Results showed a significant main effect for translucency, indicating that more high translucency symbols were learned than low translucency symbols. The effects of complexity and the translucency by complexity interaction were not found to be significant. No significant within group differences were found. Differences between trials were significant and post hoc analyses revealed that the means in Trials One and Two were significantly lower than Trials Three, Trials Four, and Trials Five. Limitations and implications of this investigation were discussed.