Anomia for facial expressions: Neuropsychological mechanisms and anatomical correlates

Steven Z. Rapcsak, James F. Comer, Alan B. Rubens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


We report a patient with a selective impairment in naming and pointing to emotional facial expressions following a circumscribed lesion of the right temporal lobe. Detailed investigation of this patient′s deficit revealed that the neuropsychological mechanism underlying his anomia for facial expressions is best understood as a category-specific bidirectional visual-verbal disconnection between intact visual semantic and verbal semantic representations for facial emotions. Magnetic resonance imaging findings from this case and from another patient previously described with this unique syndrome (Rapcsak, Kaszniak, and Rubens, 1989), together with the results of cortical electrical stimulation studies and microelectrode recordings of cortical neuronal activity in epileptic patients, provide converging evidence that the inferotemporal visual association cortex of the right middle temporal gyrus plays an important functional role in the verbal labeling of emotional facial expressions. The implications of these findings for cognitive and neural models of facial affect processing are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-252
Number of pages20
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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