Where Is the Semantic System? A Critical Review and Meta-Analysis of 120 Functional Neuroimaging Studies

Language Imaging Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.
Cerebral Cortex (Impact Factor: 8.67). 04/2009; 19(12):2767-96. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhp055
Source: PubMed


Semantic memory refers to knowledge about people, objects, actions, relations, self, and culture acquired through experience. The neural systems that store and retrieve this information have been studied for many years, but a consensus regarding their identity has not been reached. Using strict inclusion criteria, we analyzed 120 functional neuroimaging studies focusing on semantic processing. Reliable areas of activation in these studies were identified using the activation likelihood estimate (ALE) technique. These activations formed a distinct, left-lateralized network comprised of 7 regions: posterior inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal gyrus, fusiform and parahippocampal gyri, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, inferior frontal gyrus, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and posterior cingulate gyrus. Secondary analyses showed specific subregions of this network associated with knowledge of actions, manipulable artifacts, abstract concepts, and concrete concepts. The cortical regions involved in semantic processing can be grouped into 3 broad categories: posterior multimodal and heteromodal association cortex, heteromodal prefrontal cortex, and medial limbic regions. The expansion of these regions in the human relative to the nonhuman primate brain may explain uniquely human capacities to use language productively, plan, solve problems, and create cultural and technological artifacts, all of which depend on the fluid and efficient retrieval and manipulation of semantic knowledge.

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    • "( Halpern and Zatorre , 1999 ; Platel , 2005 ; Satoh et al . , 2006 ; Plailly et al . , 2007 ; Groussard et al . , 2009 ; Janata , 2009 ; Peretz et al . , 2009 ; Hsieh et al . , 2011 ; Pereira et al . , 2011 ) . This region may be unique to the musical domain . When examining non - musical semantic memory in a meta - analysis of 120 fMRI studies , Binder et al . ( 2009 ) found little evidence of superior temporal involvement . This region is also involved in processing of melodic sounds in general ( Patterson et al . , 2002 ) , including pitch contours ( Lee et al . , 2011 ) . Thus , some of the superior temporal activation may reflect the use of the melodic information to access the musical lexicon ."
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    ABSTRACT: Several studies of semantic memory in non-musical domains involving recognition of items from long-term memory have shown an age-related shift from the medial temporal lobe structures to the frontal lobe. However, the effects of aging on musical semantic memory remain unexamined. We compared activation associated with recognition of familiar melodies in younger and older adults. Recognition follows successful retrieval from the musical lexicon that comprises a lifetime of learned musical phrases. We used the sparse-sampling technique in fMRI to determine the neural correlates of melody recognition by comparing activation when listening to familiar vs. unfamiliar melodies, and to identify age differences. Recognition-related cortical activation was detected in the right superior temporal, bilateral inferior and superior frontal, left middle orbitofrontal, bilateral precentral, and left supramarginal gyri. Region-of-interest analysis showed greater activation for younger adults in the left superior temporal gyrus and for older adults in the left superior frontal, left angular, and bilateral superior parietal regions. Our study provides powerful evidence for these musical memory networks due to a large sample (N = 40) that includes older adults. This study is the first to investigate the neural basis of melody recognition in older adults and to compare the findings to younger adults.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 11/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2015.00356 · 3.66 Impact Factor
    • "Based on Vitali et al. (2010), we expected generalization effects of treatment to coincide with increased functional connectivity in the concrete word network . Based on the neuroimaging literature of abstract and concrete words (e.g., Binder et al., 2009; Wang et al., 2010), we expected that the regions with the largest network-level changes would include L AG, R AG, L FFG, L PHG, L DMPFC (i.e., L SupMed, L SFG, and/or L MFG), L PCN, and/or L PCC (see Table 1 for a list of region abbreviations that will be used throughout this manuscript). "
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    ABSTRACT: The neural mechanisms that underlie generalization of treatment-induced improvements in word finding in persons with aphasia (PWA) are currently poorly understood. This study aimed to shed light on changes in functional network connectivity underlying generalization in aphasia. To this end, we used fMRI and graph theoretic analyses to examine changes in functional connectivity after a theoretically-based word-finding treatment in which abstract words were used as training items with the goal of promoting generalization to concrete words. Ten right-handed native English-speaking PWA (7 male, 3 female) ranging in age from 47 to 75 (mean=59) participated in this study. Direct training effects coincided with increased functional connectivity for regions involved in abstract word processing. Generalization effects coincided with increased functional connectivity for regions involved in concrete word processing. Importantly, similarities between training and generalization effects were noted as were differences between participants who generalized and those who did not.
    Brain and Language 11/2015; 150:103-116. DOI:10.1016/j.bandl.2015.09.002 · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    • "Small volume correction (SVC) was used on a set of a priori regions of interest (ROIs), based on the function–anatomy correlations established independently in previous studies (Binder et al., 2009; Van Overwalle and Baetens, 2009). Spheres with an 8 mm radius around the MNI coordinates taken from representative studies and reviews or the centre of ROI mass in the Automated Anatomic Labeling (AAL) atlas (Tzourio-Mazoyer et al., 2002) were used for SVC; the coordinates are provided in Table 4. Specifically, these a priori defined regions included – the action-semantic and mirror neuron areas — left IFG (Caplan, 2006; Fadiga and Craighero, 2006; Pulvermüller and Fadiga, 2010; Rizzolatti and Craighero, 2004), bilateral PMC (Hauk et al., 2004; Kiefer and Pulvermuller, 2012; Willems et al., 2010b), left aIPS (Fogassi et al., 2005; Hamilton and Grafton, 2006; Ramsey et al., 2012), right pSTS (Materna et al., 2008; Noordzij et al., 2010; Proverbio et al., 2011; Redcay et al., 2012) as a multimodal integration area especially relevant for speech (Calvert, 2001; Hein and Knight, 2008; Szycik et al., 2009); – the theory of mind regions — bilateral TPJ (Saxe, 2009; Scholz et al., 2009), medial PFC (Canessa et al., 2012; Frith, 2007; Spunt et al., 2011; Willems et al., 2010a), as well as bilateral anterior cingulate (Frith, 2007; Gallagher and Frith, 2003) for comprehension of Re- quests; – and referential-semantic brain region, the left angular gyrus (Binder et al., 2009; Seghier et al., 2010) for understanding of the speech acts of Naming. A similar set of brain areas (bearing in mind the lower resolution of the method) has been previously identified in our MEG study of Naming and Requesting with visually presented words (Egorova et al., 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although language is a key tool for communication in social interaction, most studies in the neuroscience of language have focused on language structures such as words and sentences. Here, the neural correlates of speech acts, that is, the actions performed by using language, were investigated with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Participants were shown videos, in which the same critical utterances were used in different communicative contexts, to Name objects, or to Request them from communication partners. Understanding of critical utterances as Requests was accompanied by activation in bilateral premotor, left inferior frontal and temporo-parietal cortical areas known to support action-related and social interactive knowledge. Naming, however, activated the left angular gyrus implicated in linking information about word forms and related reference objects mentioned in critical utterances. These findings show that the understanding of utterances as different communicative actions is reflected in distinct brain activation patterns, and thus suggest different neural substrates for different speech act types.
    NeuroImage 10/2015; 125. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.10.055 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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