The lateral-occipital and the inferior-frontal cortex play different roles during the naming of visually presented objects Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • We reasoned that if an area is devoted to processing only the visual features of objects, then transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) applied to this area in either hemisphere would affect the naming of objects presented in contralateral but not ipsilateral space. In contrast, if an area is involved in language, then one might expect to see effects of TMS when applied over the left but not the right hemisphere, regardless whether objects are in contralateral or ipsilateral space. Our experiments reveal two important findings. First, TMS delivered to the lateral-occipital complex (LOC), a visual-form area, affected the naming of objects presented in contralateral but not ipsilateral space, independent of which hemisphere was stimulated. In two additional experiments, when participants named the color of objects or made judgments about the size of stimuli as shown physically on a computer screen, TMS over the contralateral LOC did not affect color naming but did affect the participants' ability to make size judgments. Second, TMS delivered to the left but not the right posterior inferior-frontal gyrus (pIFG) affected the naming of objects irrespective of whether objects were presented in contralateral or ipsilateral space. In a separate experiment, when participants were asked to either read or categorize words, TMS over the left but not the right pIFG affected word categorization but not word reading. On the basis of these findings, we propose that when people name visually-presented objects, LOC processes the visual form of objects while the left pIFG processes the semantics of objects.

publication date

  • December 2009