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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2003 Nov;9(7):1041-52.

The basal ganglia and semantic engagement: potential insights from semantic priming in individuals with subcortical vascular lesions, Parkinson's disease, and cortical lesions.

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Centre for Research in Language Processing and Linguistics, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


The impact of basal ganglia dysfunction on semantic processing was investigated by comparing the performance of individuals with nonthalamic subcortical (NS) vascular lesions, Parkinson's disease (PD), cortical lesions, and matched controls on a semantic priming task. Unequibiased lexical ambiguity primes were used in auditory prime-target pairs comprising 4 critical conditions; dominant related (e.g., bank-money), subordinate related (e.g., bank-river), dominant unrelated (e.g., foot-money) and subordinate unrelated (e.g., bat-river). Participants made speeded lexical decisions (word/nonword) on targets using a go-no-go response. When a short prime-target interstimulus interval (ISI) of 200 ms was employed, all groups demonstrated priming for dominant and subordinate conditions, indicating nonselective meaning facilitation and intact automatic lexical processing. Differences emerged at the long ISI (1250 ms), where control and cortical lesion participants evidenced selective facilitation of the dominant meaning, whereas NS and PD groups demonstrated a protracted period of nonselective meaning facilitation. This finding suggests a circumscribed deficit in the selective attentional engagement of the semantic network on the basis of meaning frequency, possibly implicating a disturbance of frontal-subcortical systems influencing inhibitory semantic mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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