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Noun and verb retrieval by normal subjects Studies with PET

Elizabeth Warburton, Richard J. S. Wise, Cathy J. Price, Cornelius Weiller, Uri Hadar, Stuart Ramsay, Richard S. J. Frackowiak
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/119.1.159 159-179 First published online: 1 February 1996


Summary PET activation studies identify significant local changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in contrasts of behavioural tasks with control states, and these local changes identify net changes in local synaptic activity. A number of studies on word retrieval have all demonstrated left frontal (dorsolateral and medial) involvement in the task. However, there have been differences in the responses observed in the left temporal lobe, with variously a deactivation (significant decrease in rCBF), no response and an activation (significant increase in rCBF). In the four studies described here, we have examined word (verbs and nouns) retrieval contrasted with a number of different control states. The studies confirmed extensive activation of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and, medially, the anterior cingulate cortex and the supplementary motor area (SMA). Activations of the left posterior temporal lobe and the inferior parietal lobe were consistently demonstrated when word retrieval was contrasted with a rest state. Contrasts with other single word tasks controlled out the activation in the perisylvian part of the left posterior temporal lobe, suggesting a role for this region in lexical processing. The left inferolateral temporal cortex and the posterior part of the inferior parietal lobe were only activated by word retrieval, particularly verbs. It is proposed that these activated regions reflect access to semantic fields.

  • PET
  • word retrieval
  • verbs
  • nouns