Left frontal activation during a semantic categorization task: An fMRI-study

Research Area: Research Year: 1999
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Hugdahl, Kenneth; Lundervold, A; Ersland, Lars; Smievoll, A I; Sundberg, HÃ¥kan; Barndon, Roger; Roscher, B E
In the present study we measured brain activation, with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during the execution of a covert semantic categorization task. This involves activation of working memory and internal concept generation. Previous brain imaging studies of covert verbal fluency have shown widespread activation in the frontal and temporal lobes, and anterior cingulate. However, most of these studies have employed simple stimulus tasks with repetition of words e.g., beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet. Moreover, the subject is typically cued (either visually or auditory) every 2-5 second. In the present study we used a "single-cue" instruction at the beginning of each activation period where the subject was instructed to internally generate category specific names related to: "States in the USA," "UK Soccer clubs," and "Male names" during 54s periods. The three activation periods were compared to three baseline periods in which the subject was instructed to imagine mentally "lying on a beach and looking at the sky." Functional MRI was performed with a 1.5T Siemens Vision scanner. Initial TIW 3D FLASH scanning of anatomy was done, and thereafter, serial imaging with 60 BOLD sensitive echo planar whole brain measurements were done during the active and passive tasks. Main activation areas were found in the left middle frontal gyrus, partially overlapping with Brodmann area 9. This is in agreement with previous studies of increased activation in the left frontal lobe, and may indicate a left frontal neural network for accessing the mental lexicon.
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