To say a word correctly, a speaker must retrieve information about the syntactic features (e.g. number of nouns, tense for verbs) and the sound of that particular word from the mental lexicon. We will investigate how the lexicon is organized and represented in the brain. We will approach these issues from the perspective of language production by examining the acquired deficits of word production observed in stroke patients with focal left temporo-parietal lesions and in patients with semantic dementia. Our project will address four questions about lexical processing that are currently under debate in neuroscience: (a) Are there brain structures specific for lexical processing or are the brain structures supporting lexical processing part of a larger circuitry implicated in memory for facts and events (i.e., declaritive memory)? To answer this question we will examine whether word production deficits due to focal left temporo-parietal lesions also show declaritive memory deficits, and whether patients with semantic impairments also have problems in retrieving lexical information. Evidence that these deficits co-occur would suggest that there is a shared circuitry for declaritive memory and lexical processing. (b) How are words processed in the lexicon? Are words like dogs and asked obtained by means of combinatorial processes that assemble the various components of the words (dog+s, ask+ed)? Are there different brain mechanisms for words that do not seem to conform to rules of word formation, such as mice and ate? To address these issues we will examine the selective deficits for producing regular words (dogs, asks) or irregular words (mice, ate) that can be found in brain damaged patients and that have been documented in our preliminary studies. (c) The retrieval of lexical information is likely to involve different stages of processing. What is the nature of theses stages? We will investigate whether different levels of processing are implicated in the retrieval of syntactic and phonological features in word production. (d) What are the neuroanatomical underpinnings of lexical processing? To characterize the brain areas underlying lexical processing, we will carry out an MRI examination of the brain damage responsible for selective word production deficits in stroke patients. In addition to their theoretical relevance for neurocognitive models of lexical processing, our data will be of clinical significance. The results of our studies will provide a more comprehensive picture of word production deficits and memory impairments associated with aphasia and semantic dementia.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Language and Communication Study Section (LCOM)
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Cooper, Judith
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Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Miozzo, Michele; Pulvermüller, Friedemann; Hauk, Olaf (2015) Early Parallel Activation of Semantics and Phonology in Picture Naming: Evidence from a Multiple Linear Regression MEG Study. Cereb Cortex 25:3343-55
Miozzo, Michele; Rawlins, Kyle; Rapp, Brenda (2014) How verbs and non-verbal categories navigate the syntax/semantics interface: insights from cognitive neuropsychology. Cognition 133:621-40
Miozzo, Michele; Buchwald, Adam (2013) On the nature of sonority in spoken word production: evidence from neuropsychology. Cognition 128:287-301
Cohen-Goldberg, Ariel M; Cholin, Joana; Miozzo, Michele et al. (2013) The interface between morphology and phonology: exploring a morpho-phonological deficit in spoken production. Cognition 127:270-86
Miozzo, Michele; Fischer-Baum, Simon; Caccappolo-van Vliet, Elise (2013) Perseverations in Alzheimer's disease: memory slips? Cortex 49:2028-39
de Zubicaray, Greig I; Miozzo, Michele; Johnson, Kori et al. (2012) Independent distractor frequency and age-of-acquisition effects in picture-word interference: fMRI evidence for post-lexical and lexical accounts according to distractor type. J Cogn Neurosci 24:482-95
Buchwald, Adam; Miozzo, Michele (2012) Phonological and motor errors in individuals with acquired sound production impairment. J Speech Lang Hear Res 55:S1573-86
Buchwald, Adam; Miozzo, Michele (2011) Finding levels of abstraction in speech production: evidence from sound-production impairment. Psychol Sci 22:1113-9
Colome, Angels; Miozzo, Michele (2010) Which words are activated during bilingual word production? J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 36:96-109
Miozzo, Michele; Fischer-Baum, Simon; Postman, Jeffrey (2010) A selective deficit for inflection production. Neuropsychologia 48:2427-36

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