Support for anterior temporal involvement in semantic error production in aphasia: New evidence from VLSM

Grant M. Walker, Myrna F. Schwartz, Daniel Y. Kimberg, Olufunsho Faseyitan, Adelyn Brecher, Gary S. Dell, H. Branch Coslett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Semantic errors in aphasia (e.g., naming a horse as " dog" ) frequently arise from faulty mapping of concepts onto lexical items. A recent study by our group used voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) methods with 64 patients with chronic aphasia to identify voxels that carry an association with semantic errors. The strongest associations were found in the left anterior temporal lobe (L-ATL), in the mid- to anterior MTG region. The absence of findings in Wernicke's area was surprising, as were indications that ATL voxels made an essential contribution to the post-semantic stage of lexical access. In this follow-up study, we sought to validate these results by re-defining semantic errors in a manner that was less theory dependent and more consistent with prior lesion studies. As this change also increased the robustness of the dependent variable, it made it possible to perform additional statistical analyses that further refined the interpretation. The results strengthen the evidence for a causal relationship between ATL damage and lexically-based semantic errors in naming and lend confidence to the conclusion that chronic lesions in Wernicke's area are not causally implicated in semantic error production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-122
Number of pages13
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Aphasia
  • Errors
  • Naming
  • Semantic
  • Voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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