Aphasia is a neurological disorder that affects speech comprehension and speech production. It has been suggested that aphasic speech and poetry bear some resemblance.
In a recent study, Albert-Jan. Roskam found that poems of mediocre quality and aphasic transcripts may be indistinguishable, especially for men. His findings raise questions on gender differences in the specialization of the left brain hemisphere in the context of poetry.
To test the hypothesis that poems of mediocre quality and aphasic transcripts cannot be distinguished, Roskam surveyed employees of a Dutch medical center and subscribers of a statistical newsgroup on the internet. Respondents were presented four pairs of poems and aphasic transcripts.
Poems were rated slightly higher than aphasic transcripts. Among men, there were no significant differences between ratings of poems and aphasic speech. Women rated poems slightly but significantly higher than aphasic transcripts.