Conceptual structure modulates anteromedial temporal involvement in processing verbally presented object properties.


Recent research has indicated that anteromedial temporal cortex (including the perirhinal cortex) may function as the endpoint of a hierarchically organized visual object-processing network providing the basis for fine-grained discrimination among objects. The present study examines whether the same system is involved in processing conceptual information when concepts, and their properties, are denoted by words. A lesion-behavior correlational study was conducted in which cortical damage in 21 brain-damaged patients was correlated with behavioral scores in a verbally presented property verification task. Results indicated that the neural correlates of conceptual processing depend on the dynamic interaction between the content of a conceptual representation and the specific demands of the task and that the role of anteromedial temporal cortex in this process is not limited to the visual input modality. The results are consistent with the claim that anteromedial temporal cortex provides the neural structure necessary for the emergence of fine-grained conceptual knowledge about objects, although the region is strongly weighted toward processing of visually based object features.