The study of the neuroanatomical correlates of category-specific semantic disorders has strongly supported the 'sensory/motor model of semantic knowledge,' which assumes that the cortical areas that have critically contributed to the development of various categories are also implicated in their semantic representation. However, if the anatomo-clinical correlates are consistent with the model, less clearcut results have been obtained by functional neuroimaging experiments. In the present metanalysis, I addressed the question from a different viewpoint, shifting attention from the anatomical lesion in patients with category-specific semantic disorders to the pattern of naming impairment shown by patients suffering from a disconnection between visual areas and lexical output mechanisms. According to the model, living entities should be particularly impaired, since their semantic representations are mainly based upon visual perceptual attributes. On the contrary, actions and body parts (and to a lesser extent artefacts) should be relatively spared, as their semantic representations are mainly based upon motor, somato-sensory or functional attributes. These predictions were checked by reviewing the categorical pattern of naming impairment shown by patients with a visuo-verbal disconnection and a category-specific naming impairment published in the last 20 years. The pattern of impaired and spared categories observed in these patients was consistent with the hypothesis, since: (1) 'actions' and 'body parts' were systematically spared in comparison to all the other categories; (2) 'artefacts' were relatively spared with respect to the 'living categories'; and (3) within the biological categories, 'plants' were usually more impaired than animals.
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|
- Naming impairment
- Visuo-verbal disconnection
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology