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Evidence for a functional specialization of ventral anterior temporal lobe for language / Lars Marstaller; Samuel Fynes-Clinton; Hana Burianová; David C. Reutens
NeuroImage, Volume: 183, Pages: 800 - 810
Swansea University Author: Marstaller, Lars
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The controlled semantic cognition framework proposes that the ventral anterior temporal lobes (vATL) in the left and right hemisphere function as an integrated hub region supporting transmodal semantic representations. The clinical evidence for the transmodal function of vATL is largely based on stu...
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The controlled semantic cognition framework proposes that the ventral anterior temporal lobes (vATL) in the left and right hemisphere function as an integrated hub region supporting transmodal semantic representations. The clinical evidence for the transmodal function of vATL is largely based on studies of semantic dementia patients with severe anomia, who also show impaired performance on nonverbal tasks that involve the retrieval of knowledge about objects and their prototypical use, such as the production of tool use pantomimes. Yet, evidence from patients with apraxia and functional neuroimaging studies in healthy adults does not implicate vATL in pantomime production. We, therefore, compared semantic retrieval of object-action associations for overt verb and pantomime production from picture and word stimuli. Our results show that, independent of stimulus modality, the retrieval of object-action associations for verb, but not pantomime, production is related to activity in bilateral vATL. Bilateral vATL activation was also observed for meaningless verbal responses that did not require the retrieval of object-action associations. Taken together, our results suggest that bilateral vATL is not engaged in the retrieval of object-action associations per se, but rather supports semantic representations that are functionally specialized for language. These findings have implications for the semantic cognition framework and our understanding of the dependence of conceptual knowledge on language.
verb, pantomime, semantic hub, nonverbal behaviour, tool use
College of Human and Health Sciences