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Semantic Word Category Processing
Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge
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There has been growing evidence that brain regions responsible for controlling motor movement also contribute to language comprehension and semantic and conceptual processing. Neuroimaging studies have found specific activation in motor areas when we understand action related language and specific sensory area activity when processing words and sentences with visual, auditory, gustatory or olfactory connotations. Converging evidence comes from neuropsychological studies of patients with focal lesions and degenerative brain diseases where category-specific impairments and double dissociations in the processing of different word types have been documented. However, the functional role of sensori-motor regions in semantic processing remains not fully understood and the degree to which action-perception systems from the basis of or integrate with semantic processing is still a matter of debate. This thesis describes a set of experiments that seek to further elucidate the functional role of sensori-motor regions in the processing of words from different semantic categories.