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Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 May 8;7:175. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00175. eCollection 2013.

Is there a semantic system for abstract words?

Author information

  • 1Cognitive Neuroscience Sector, SISSA Trieste, Italy ; Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London London, UK.

Abstract

Two views on the semantics of concrete words are that their core mental representations are feature-based or are reconstructions of sensory experience. We argue that neither of these approaches is capable of representing the semantics of abstract words, which involve the representation of possibly hypothetical physical and mental states, the binding of entities within a structure, and the possible use of embedding (or recursion) in such structures. Brain based evidence in the form of dissociations between deficits related to concrete and abstract semantics corroborates the hypothesis. Neuroimaging evidence suggests that left lateral inferior frontal cortex supports those processes responsible for the representation of abstract words.

KEYWORDS:

abstract words; concepts; embodied cognition; left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex; semantics

PMID:
23658539
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3647111
Free PMC Article
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