The central aim of this proposal is to characterize how humans conceptualize and label spatial events. Humans recognize events that occur in the world and use language to communicate information about these events. How does this world to word mapping occur? What are the links between perception, perceptual categories and linguistic spatial representations? In approaching these questions, we will test a set of nested hypotheses postulating that spatial events (for speaking) are decomposed into static and dynamic as well as intrinsic and extrinsic spatial information. These kinds of spatial information are represented along a gradient, ranging from the concrete and perceptual to the abstract and conceptual. The system is also designed to both recognize specific spatial events and be able to generalize from specific instances to general categories. We will use a two-pronged strategy to test these hypotheses in our 2 specific aims. First, we will test the hypothesis that the neural mediation of spatial events is decomposed into manner of motion (intrinsic) and path and locative (extrinsic) information. Perceptually, these two kinds of information are linked to human MT/MST and fronto-parietal networks respectively. Furthermore, each domain has a functional anatomic organization with a gradient ranging from perception to conception to linguistic expression. Second, we will test the hypothesis that intrinsic and extrinsic spatial information can be selectively disrupted by brain damage. These perceptual and cognitive systems will be selectively vulnerable to disruption depending on whether damage occurs within postero-lateral temporal or fronto-parietal networks. These studies will further expand our knowledge of disabilities in relational thinking experienced by aphasic patients that are not traditionally investigated. Furthermore, we plan to advance voxel based lesion symptom analytic techniques in establishing the functional neuroanatomy in aphasic subjects. In summary, we plan to use imaging and neurolinguistic studies to advance our understanding of spatial concepts for language. Our goal is to establish points of convergence in this aspect of spatial cognition across cognitive linguistics, functional neuroimaging and neuropsychology, and to further our understanding of the deficits experienced by aphasic subjects.

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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Shekim, Lana O
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University of Pennsylvania
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Quandt, Lorna C; Lee, Yune-Sang; Chatterjee, Anjan (2017) Neural bases of action abstraction. Biol Psychol 129:314-323
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Woods, Adam J; Lehet, Matthew; Chatterjee, Anjan (2012) Context modulates the contribution of time and space in causal inference. Front Psychol 3:371

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