Dementia, Rhetorical Schemes, and Cognitive Resilience



I argue for the importance of rhetorical schemes for understanding, diagnosing, and coping with forms of dementia. Schemes give salience (recruit attention), memorability (affect storage and facilitate retrieval), and aesthetic effects (induce a pleasurable emotional response) to configurations of language. They do so because of the way they play to neurocognitive pattern biases, like repetition, sequence, and position. Dementia is a condition under which language use degrades, alongside memory and attention, but pattern biases appear to remain and schemic configurations become more and more frequent in dementia speech. Rhetorical schemes, that is, are notably resilient to the forces that diminish language use in dementia.


How to Cite: Harris, R. (2020) “Dementia, Rhetorical Schemes, and Cognitive Resilience”, Poroi. 15(1). doi: