Introduction: Studies on script processing have shown inconsistent relations between deficits in script action generation and frontal lobe pathology. Therefore, we investigated which difficulties in script action generation are linked to anterior lesions. Moreover, we explored whether verbal script generation can be predicted by specific executive processes.
Methods: Fifty-two patients with acquired brain injury (mean age: 44.23 years, 30 male/22 female) were included, of whom 30 had anterior and 22 had posterior lesions. Several indices of the Everyday Description Task were investigated: relevant central actions (RCAs); relevant trivial actions (RTAs); relevant and irrelevant intrusions (RI & IRI); sequencing (SEs) and perseverative (PEs) errors. Additionally, five z-composite scores representing planning, response generation, working memory, inhibition and shifting were calculated. Correlations and multiple linear regression analyses were computed.
Results: Anteriorly lesioned patients produced significantly less RCAs and more PEs and SEs compared to posteriorly damaged patients. No differences were found with RTAs, RI and IRI. RCAs were predicted by planning, response generation and working memory, RI by response generation and working memory, IRI by inhibition, PEs and SEs by response generation and shifting. None of these executive processes predicted RTAs.
Conclusions: Difficulties in RCAs, PEs and SEs are sensitive indicators of anterior brain damage and script generation demands various executive abilities.