Allographic agraphia: A case study

Alina Menichelli, Brenda Rapp, Carlo Semenza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We report the case of patient MN, diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, who exhibited a severe impairment in writing letters and words in upper-case print in the face of accurate production of the same stimuli in lower-case cursive. In contrast to her written production difficulties, MN was unimpaired in recognizing visually presented letters and words in upper-case print. We find a modest benefit of visual form cueing in the written production of upper-case letters, despite an inability to describe or report visual features of letters in any case or font. This case increases our understanding of the allographic level of letter-shape representation in written language production. It provides strong support for previous reports indicating the neural independence of different types of case and font-specific letter-shape information; it provides evidence that letter-shape production does not require explicit access to information about the visual attributes of letter shapes and, finally, it reveals the possibility of interaction between processes involved in letter-shape production and perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-868
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Allograph
  • Allographic agraphia
  • Graphemic representations
  • Letter case
  • Letter font

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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