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Brain reflections of words and their meaning
Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 5(12), 517-524
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The neurobiological organization of meaningful language units, morphemes and words, has been illuminated by recent metabolic and neurophysiological imaging studies. When humans process words from different categories, various sets of cortical areas become active differentially. The meaning of a word, more precisely aspects of its reference, may be crucial for determining which set of cortical areas is involved in its processing. Correlation of neuronal firing in an associative memory network with ordered in- and output projections and the capability of linking information from different modalities explains the formation of word-related neuron webs with defined cortical topographies that may underlie the observed category-specific differences in brain activity.