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Hum Brain Mapp. 2009 Mar;30(3):976-89. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20561.

Accessing newly learned names and meanings in the native language.

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Brain Research Unit, Low Temperature Laboratory, Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland.


Ten healthy adults encountered pictures of unfamiliar archaic tools and successfully learned either their name, verbal definition of their usage, or both. Neural representation of the newly acquired information was probed with magnetoencephalography in an overt picture-naming task before and after learning, and in two categorization tasks after learning. Within 400 ms, activation proceeded from occipital through parietal to left temporal cortex, inferior frontal cortex (naming) and right temporal cortex (categorization). Comparison of naming of newly learned versus familiar pictures indicated that acquisition and maintenance of word forms are supported by the same neural network. Explicit access to newly learned phonology when such information was known strongly enhanced left temporal activation. By contrast, access to newly learned semantics had no comparable, direct neural effects. Both the behavioral learning pattern and neurophysiological results point to fundamentally different implementation of and access to phonological versus semantic features in processing pictured objects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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