Right hemispheric participation in semantic decision improves performance

Academic Article


  • Functional neuroimaging studies in healthy adults demonstrate involvement of a left-lateralized network of frontal, temporal, and parietal regions during a variety of semantic processing tasks. While these areas are believed to be fundamental to semantic processing, it is unclear if task performance is correlated with differential recruitment of these or other brain regions. The objective of this study was to identify the structures underlying improved accuracy on a semantic decision task. We also investigated whether extra-scanner performance on the Boston Naming Test (BNT) and Semantic Fluency Test (SFT), neuropsychological measures of semantic retrieval, is correlated with specific areas of activation during the semantic decision/tone decision (SDTD) fMRI task. Fifty-two healthy, right-handed individuals performed a block-design SDTD task. Regression analyses revealed that increased performance on this task was associated with activation in the right inferior parietal lobule. Higher SFT performance resulted in greater recruitment of right frontal regions; improved performance on BNT was associated with more widespread activation in prefrontal, temporal, and parietal cortex bilaterally, although this activation appeared to be stronger in the right hemisphere. Overall, our results suggest that improved performance on both intra- and extra-scanner measures of semantic processing are associated with increased recruitment of right hemispheric regions. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Published In

  • Brain Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Donnelly KM; Allendorfer JB; Szaflarski JP
  • Start Page

  • 105
  • End Page

  • 116
  • Volume

  • 1419