Modeling the meaning of words: Neural correlates of abstract and concrete noun processing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We present a model relating analysis of abstract and concrete word meaning in terms of semantic features and contextual frames within a general framework of neurocognitive information processing. The approach taken here assumes concrete noun meanings to be intimately related to sensory feature constellations. These features are processed by posterior sensory regions of the brain, e.g. the occipital lobe, which handles visual information. The interpretation of abstract nouns, however, is likely to be more dependent on semantic frames and linguistic context. A greater involvement of more anteriorly located, perisylvian brain areas has previously been found for the processing of abstract words. In the present study, a word association test was carried out in order to compare semantic processing in healthy subjects (n=12) with subjects with aphasia due to perisylvian lesions (n=3) and occipital lesions (n=1). The word associations were coded into different categories depending on their semantic content. A double dissociation was found, where, compared to the controls, the perisylvian aphasic subjects had problems associating to abstract nouns and produced fewer semantic frame-based associations, whereas the occipital aphasic subject showed disturbances in concrete noun processing and made fewer semantic feature based associations.

Details

Authors
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics

Keywords

  • mental lexicon, abstract words, concrete words, semantic frames, semantic features, neurocognition, aphasia
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-478
JournalActa Neurobiologiae Experimentalis
Volume71
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)

Related projects

Frida Blomberg, Merle Horne, Mikael Roll, Pelle Söderström & Magnus Lindgren

Swedish Research Council

2010/01/012013/12/31

Project: Research

View all (1)