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B&C Tuesday Seminar “Investigating semantics above and beyond language: a clinical and cognitive neuroscience approach”
16 May @ 12 h 15 min - 13 h 15 min
Abstract :The ability to build, store, and manipulate semantic representations lies at the core of all our (inter)actions. Combining evidence from cognitive neuroimaging and experimental neuropsychology, I study the neurocognitive correlates of semantic knowledge in relation to other cognitive functions, chiefly language. In this talk, I will start by reviewing neuroimaging findings supporting the idea that semantic representations are encoded in distributed yet specialized cortical areas (1), and rapidly recovered (2) according to the requirement of the task at hand (3). I will then focus on studies conducted in neurodegenerative patients, offering a unique window on the key role played by a structurally and functionally heterogeneous piece of cortex: the anterior temporal lobe (4,5). I will present pathological, neuroimaging, cognitive, and behavioral data illustrating how damages to language-related networks can affect or spare semantic knowledge as well as possible paths to functional compensation (6,7). Time permitting, we will discuss the neurocognitive dissociation between nouns and verbs (8) and how verb production is differentially impacted by specific language impairments (9).