Retrieval pathways for common and proper names

Carlo Semenza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Paradigmatic cases of proper name anomia and proper name selective sparing are reviewed from relevant neuropsychological literature. Available evidence supports the existence of functionally and anatomically distinct retrieval pathways for the categories of proper and common names. An information processing model whose main feature lies in the relative independence within the semantic-conceptual system of information concerning individual entities may account for most of the observed phenomena. Localization studies seem to indicate that a complex neural network sustains various tasks implied in proper name processing. A dedicated module dealing with proper name retrieval is probably there, but its location within the left hemisphere is not at present fully understood. The proper name specific retrieval process is shown, in keeping with current philosophical and linguistic theories, to be intrinsically fragile and source-consuming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-891
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Anomia
  • Common names
  • General semantics
  • Individual semantics
  • Proper names

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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