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The neuro-cognitive representation of word meaning resolved in space and time

Abstract : One of the core human abilities is that of interpreting symbols. Notwithstanding decades of neuropsychological and neuroimaging work on the cognitive and neural substrate of semantic representations, many questions are left unanswered. The research in this dissertation attempts to unravel one of them: are the neural substrates of different components of concrete word meaning dissociated? In the first part, I review the different theoretical positions and empirical findings on the cognitive and neural correlates of semantic representations. Crucially, I propose an operational distinction between motor-perceptual dimensions (i.e., those attributes of the objects referred to by the words that are perceived through the senses) and conceptual ones (i.e., the information that is built via a complex integration of multiple perceptual features). In the second part, I present the results of the studies I conducted in order to investigate the automaticity of retrieval, topographical organization, and temporal dynamics of motor-perceptual and conceptual dimensions of word meaning. The results suggest that the neural substrates of different components of symbol meaning can be dissociated in terms of localization and of the feature of the signal encoding them, while sharing a similar temporal evolution.
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Valentina Borghesani. The neuro-cognitive representation of word meaning resolved in space and time. Neurons and Cognition [q-bio.NC]. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI; Università degli studi (Trente, Italie), 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PA066091⟩. ⟨tel-02054668⟩

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