Thompson-Schill, Sharon L.

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Fractionating the Left Frontal Response to Tools: Dissociable Effects of Motor Experience and Lexical Competition
    (2006-02-01) Kable, Joseph W; Kan, Irene P; Van Scoyoc, Amanda; Thompson-Schill, Sharon L.; Chatterjee, Anjan
    A number of theories about the evolution of language posit a close (and perhaps causal) relationship between tool use and speech. Consistent with this idea, neuroimaging studies have found that tool knowledge retrieval activates not only a region of the left premotor cortex involved in hand action, but also an adjacent region that is typically described as a language center. We examined whether this pattern of activation is best described as the result of a single process, related to both action and language, or the result of two independent processes. We identified two distinct neural components that jointly contribute to this response: a posterior region centered in the premotor cortex, which responds to motor knowledge retrieval, and an anterior region centered in the left frontal operculum, which responds to lexical competition. Crucial to the interpretation of the premotor response, individual variation in motor experience was highly correlated with the magnitude of the response in the premotor cortex, but not in the prefrontal cortex.
  • Publication
    Conceptual Representations of Action in the Lateral Temporal Cortex
    (2005-12-01) Kable, Joseph W; Thompson-Schill, Sharon L.; Kan, Irene P; Chatterjee, Anjan; Wilson, Ashley
    Retrieval of conceptual information from action pictures causes greater activation than from object pictures bilaterally in human motion areas (MT/MST) and nearby temporal regions. By contrast, retrieval of conceptual information from action words causes greater activation in left middle and superior temporal gyri, anterior and dorsal to the MT/MST. We performed two fMRI experiments to replicate and extend these findings regarding action words. In the first experiment, subjects performed conceptual judgments of action and object words under conditions that stressed visual semantic information. Under these conditions, action words again activated posterior temporal regions close to, but not identical with, the MT/MST. In the second experiment, we included conceptual judgments of manipulable object words in addition to judgments of action and animal words. Both action and manipulable object judgments caused greater activity than animal judgments in the posterior middle temporal gyrus. Both of these experiments support the hypothesis that middle temporal gyrus activation is related to accessing conceptual information about motion attributes, rather than alternative accounts on the basis of lexical or grammatical factors. Furthermore, these experiments provide additional support for the notion of a concrete to abstract gradient of motion representations with the lateral occipitotemporal cortex, extending anterior and dorsal from the MT/MST towards the peri-sylvian cortex.
  • Publication
    Prefrontal Cortical Response to Conflict during Semantic and Phonological Tasks
    (2007-05-01) Snyder, Hannah R.; Feigenson, Keith; Thompson-Schill, Sharon L.
    Debates about the function of the prefrontal cortex are as old as the field of neuropsychology—often dated to Paul Broca’s seminal work. Theories of the functional organization of the prefrontal cortex can be roughly divided into those that describe organization by process and those that describe organization by material. Recent studies of the function of the posterior, left inferior frontal gyrus (pLIFG) have yielded two quite different interpretations: One hypothesis holds that the pLIFG plays a domain-specific role in phonological processing, whereas another hypothesis describes a more general function of the pLIFG in cognitive control. In the current study, we distinguish effects of increasing cognitive control demands from effects of phonological processing. The results support the hypothesized role for the pLIFG in cognitive control, and more task-specific roles for posterior areas in phonology and semantics. Thus, these results suggest an alternative explanation of previously reported phonology-specific effects in the pLIFG.
  • Publication
    Functional Neuroimaging Can Support Causal Claims about Brain Function
    (2011-01-01) Weber, Matthew J.; Thompson-Schill, Sharon L.
    Cognitive neuroscientists habitually deny that functional neuroimaging can furnish causal information about the relationship between brain events and behavior. However, imaging studies do provide causal information about those relationships although not causal certainty. Although popular portrayals of functional neuroimaging tend to attribute too much inferential power to the technique, we should restrain ourselves from ascribing it too little.
  • Publication
    Co-localization of Stroop and Syntactic Ambiguity Resolution in Broca’s Area: Implications for the Neural Basis of Sentence Processing
    (2009-12-01) Trueswell, John C.; January, David; Thompson-Schill, Sharon L.
    For over a century, a link between left prefrontal cortex and language processing has been accepted, yet the precise characterization of this link remains elusive. Recent advances in both the study of sentence processing and the neuroscientific study of frontal lobe function suggest an intriguing possibility: The demands to resolve competition between incompatible characterizations of a linguistic stimulus may recruit top–down cognitive control processes mediated by prefrontal cortex. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging to test the hypothesis that individuals use shared prefrontal neural circuitry during two very different tasks—color identification under Stroop conflict and sentence comprehension under conditions of syntactic ambiguity—both of which putatively rely on cognitive control processes. We report the first demonstration of within-subject overlap in neural responses to syntactic and nonsyntactic conflict. These findings serve to clarify the role of Broca’s area in, and the neural and psychological organization of, the language processing system.