Is problem solving dependent on language?

Juliana V. Baldo, Nina Dronkers, David Wilkins, Carl Ludy, Patricia Raskin, Jiye Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


There has been a long-standing debate in the fields of philosophy and cognitive science surrounding the relationship of language to cognition, but the exact nature of this relationship is still unclear (Sokolov, 1968/1972). In the current study, we explored the role of language in one aspect of cognition, namely problem solving, by administering the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) to stroke patients with varying degrees of language impairment (Experiment 1) and to normal participants under conditions of articulatory suppression (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, there was a significant correlation between performance on the WCST and language measures such as comprehension and naming. Demonstrating the specificity of this result, we also found a significant relationship between language performance and another test of problem solving, the Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices, but no relationship between language and a test of visuospatial functioning. In Experiment 2, normal participants were significantly impaired on the WCST under conditions of articulatory suppression, relative to a baseline condition. Together, these findings suggest that language plays a role in complex problem solving, possibly through covert language processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-250
Number of pages11
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Aphasia
  • Executive functions
  • Language
  • Problem solving
  • Reasoning
  • Wisconsin Card Sorting Test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Is problem solving dependent on language?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this