Noun and knowledge retrieval for biological and non-biological entities following right occipitotemporal lesions.

Neuropsychologia

PubMedID: 25080190

Bruffaerts R, De Weer AS, De Grauwe S, Thys M, Dries E, Thijs V, Sunaert S, Vandenbulcke M, De Deyne S, Storms G, Vandenberghe R. Noun and knowledge retrieval for biological and non-biological entities following right occipitotemporal lesions. Neuropsychologia. 2014;.
We investigated the critical contribution of right ventral occipitotemporal cortex to knowledge of visual and functional-associative attributes of biological and non-biological entities and how this relates to category-specificity during confrontation naming. In a consecutive series of 7 patients with lesions confined to right ventral occipitotemporal cortex, we conducted an extensive assessment of oral generation of visual-sensory and functional-associative features in response to the names of biological and nonbiological entities. Subjects also performed a confrontation naming task for these categories. Our main novel finding related to a unique case with a small lesion confined to right medial fusiform gyrus who showed disproportionate naming impairment for nonbiological versus biological entities, specifically for tools. Generation of visual and functional-associative feature was preserved for biological and non-biological entities. In two other cases, who had a relatively small posterior lesion restricted to primary visual and posterior fusiform cortex, respectively, retrieval of visual attributes was disproportionately impaired compared to functional-associative attributes, in particular for biological entities. However, these cases did not show a category-specific naming deficit. Two final cases with the largest lesions showed a classical dissociation between biological versus nonbiological entities during naming, with normal feature generation performance. This is the first lesion-based evidence of a critical contribution of the right medial fusiform cortex to tool naming. Second, dissociations along the dimension of attribute type during feature generation do not co-occur with category-specificity during naming in the current patient sample.