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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2017 Jan;18(1):42-55. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.150. Epub 2016 Nov 24.

The neural and computational bases of semantic cognition.

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Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit, Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, Zochonis Building, Brunswick Street, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK.
Department of Psychology and York Neuroimaging Centre, Heslington, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, UK.
MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Chaucer Road, Cambridge, CB2 7EF, UK.
Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Robinson Way, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1202 W Johnson Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Semantic cognition refers to our ability to use, manipulate and generalize knowledge that is acquired over the lifespan to support innumerable verbal and non-verbal behaviours. This Review summarizes key findings and issues arising from a decade of research into the neurocognitive and neurocomputational underpinnings of this ability, leading to a new framework that we term controlled semantic cognition (CSC). CSC offers solutions to long-standing queries in philosophy and cognitive science, and yields a convergent framework for understanding the neural and computational bases of healthy semantic cognition and its dysfunction in brain disorders.

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