Right hemisphere semantic processing of visual words in an aphasic patient: An fMRI study

Brian T. Gold, Andrew Kertesz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


This study was designed to identify the neural network supporting the semantic processing of visual words in a patient with large-scale damage to left-hemisphere (LH) language structures. Patient GP, and a control subject, RT, performed semantic and orthographic tasks while brain-activation patterns were recorded using functional magnetic resonance imaging. In RT, the semantic-orthographic comparison activated LH perisylvian and extrasylvian temporal regions comparable to the network of areas activated by non-brain- damaged subjects in other neuroimaging studies of semantic discrimination. In GP, the same comparison activated homologous right-hemisphere regions, demonstrating the ability of the right hemisphere to subserve visual lexicosemantic processes. The results are discussed within the context of the normal right hemisphere's capacity for semantic processing of visual words. Examining results from functional neuroimaging studies on recovery in the context of innate hemispheric abilities may enable reconciliation of disparate claims about mechanisms supporting recovery from aphasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-465
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Dr. Ravi Menon and Joseph Gati of the Robart’s Research Institute for their expert technical assistance and three anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier draft of this article. Research was supported by funds from the Medical Research Council of Canada and the Lawson Research Institute.


  • Functional activation
  • Language recovery
  • Lexicosemantic processing
  • Right hemisphere
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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