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A perfusion fMRI investigation of thematic and categorical context effects in the spoken production of object names

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Howard


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The context in which objects are presented influences the speed at which they are named. We employed the blocked cyclic naming paradigm and perfusion functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the mechanisms responsible for interference effects reported for thematically and categorically related compared to unrelated contexts. Naming objects in categorically homogeneous contexts induced a significant interference effect that accumulated from the second cycle onwards. This interference effect was associated with significant perfusion signal decreases in left middle and posterior lateral temporal cortex and the hippocampus. By contrast, thematically homogeneous contexts facilitated naming latencies significantly in the first cycle and did not differ from heterogeneous contexts thereafter, nor were they associated with any perfusion signal changes compared to heterogeneous contexts. These results are interpreted as being consistent with an account in which the interference effect both originates and has its locus at the lexical level, with an incremental leaming mechanism adapting the activation levels of target lexical representations following access. We discuss the implications of these findings for accounts that assume thematic relations can be active lexical competitors or assume mandatory involvement of top down control mechanisms in interference effects during naming. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): de Zubicaray G, Johnson K, Howard D, McMahon K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cortex

Year: 2014

Volume: 54

Pages: 135-149

Print publication date: 01/05/2014

Online publication date: 11/02/2014

Acceptance date: 27/01/2014

ISSN (print): 0010-9452

ISSN (electronic): 1973-8102

Publisher: Elsevier B.V.


DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2014.01.018


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Funder referenceFunder name
DP1092619Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project
FT0991634ARC Future Fellowship