The left anterior temporal lobe is a bidirectional convergence region mediating the relation between names and semantic knowledge for unique entities
Amy Belfi1, Brett Schneider2, Jonah Heskje3, Joel Bruss3, Daniel Tranel3; 1Missouri University of Science & Technology, 2University of Wisconsin-Madison, 3University of Iowa
Prior research has implicated the left temporal pole (LTP) as a critical region for naming semantically unique items, including famous faces, landmarks, and musical melodies. Such studies typically use a confrontation naming paradigm, where a participant is presented with a stimulus and asked to retrieve its name. Here, we propose that the LTP functions as a two-way convergence region for proper naming. Under this hypothesis, damage to the LTP should result in impairments both in name retrieval when presented with a concept (as in prior work) and in concept retrieval when given a name. We tested this hypothesis using a “recognition-from-name” paradigm. Participants included individuals with LTP damage, and brain-damaged and healthy comparison participants. Participants were presented with names of famous individuals (e.g., Marilyn Monroe), landmarks (e.g., Leaning Tower of Pisa), or melodies (e.g., Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) and were asked to provide conceptual knowledge about each. Individuals with LTP damage were significantly impaired at conceptual knowledge retrieval when given names of famous people and landmarks, but not melodies. This supports the theory that the LTP is a bidirectional convergence region for proper naming, but suggests that melody retrieval may rely on additional processes other than those supported by the LTP.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Semantic