Distinct neural substrates for semantic knowledge and naming in the temporoparietal network

Benno Gesierich, Jorge Jovicich, Marianna Riello, Michela Adriani, Alessia Monti, Valentina Brentari, Simon D. Robinson, Stephen M. Wilson, Scott L. Fairhall, Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Patients with anterior temporal lobe (ATL) lesions show semantic and lexical retrieval deficits, and the differential role of this area in the 2 processes is debated. Functional neuroimaging in healthy individuals has not clarified the matter because semantic and lexical processes usually occur simultaneously and automatically. Furthermore, the ATL is a region challenging for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) due to susceptibility artifacts, especially at high fields. In this study, we established an optimized ATL-sensitive fMRI acquisition protocol at 4 T and applied an event-related paradigm to study the identification (i.e., association of semantic biographical information) of celebrities, with and without the ability to retrieve their proper names. While semantic processing reliably activated the ATL, only more posterior areas in the left temporal and temporal-parietal junction were significantly modulated by covert lexical retrieval. These results suggest that within a temporoparietal network, the ATL is relatively more important for semantic processing, and posterior language regions are relatively more important for lexical retrieval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2217-2226
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • EPI optimization
  • MRI
  • famous faces
  • lexical retrieval
  • susceptibility artifacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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