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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e22368. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022368. Epub 2011 Aug 4.

Dissociation between the activity of the right middle frontal gyrus and the middle temporal gyrus in processing semantic priming.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.


The aim of this event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study was to test whether the right middle frontal gyrus (MFG) and middle temporal gyrus (MTG) would show differential sensitivity to the effect of prime-target association strength on repetition priming. In the experimental condition (RP), the target occurred after repetitive presentation of the prime within an oddball design. In the control condition (CTR), the target followed a single presentation of the prime with equal probability of the target as in RP. To manipulate semantic overlap between the prime and the target both conditions (RP and CTR) employed either the onomatopoeia "oink" as the prime and the referent "pig" as the target (OP) or vice-versa (PO) since semantic overlap was previously shown to be greater in OP. The results showed that the left MTG was sensitive to release of adaptation while both the right MTG and MFG were sensitive to sequence regularity extraction and its verification. However, dissociated activity between OP and PO was revealed in RP only in the right MFG. Specifically, target "pig" (OP) and the physically equivalent target in CTR elicited comparable deactivations whereas target "oink" (PO) elicited less inhibited response in RP than in CTR. This interaction in the right MFG was explained by integrating these effects into a competition model between perceptual and conceptual effects in priming processing.

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