Thursday, January 17, 2013
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Where: Frances Searle Building, 3-417, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it
Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public
Marilyn Logan Hall
Category: Lectures & Meetings
Jamie Reilly, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Florida
"Semantic Memory and Language Processing: A State of the Union Address"
How does the brain represent and integrate the many distinct fragments of information that comprise object meaning? This central question has eluded cognitive science for millennia, and the neuroscience of semantic memory today stands divided on an answer. One position holds that the brain decomposes object knowledge into discrete sets of features that are stored in a highly distributed network of modality-specific regions (e.g., auditory association cortex for environmental sounds, visual association cortex for color imagery). An alternative view suggests that the brain reinterprets and stores object knowledge in an abstract, propositional form. These approaches yield very different predictions about the organizing principles underlying semantic representation and the effects of neurological damage on semantic memory. I will discuss evidence for both perspectives and describe a hybrid model integrating merits of each. I will interpret patterns of semantic impairment observed in stroke aphasia, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), and semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (sv-PPA) in the context of this integrative framework. Finally, I will discuss promising results from a language treatment designed to promote maintenance of a finite lexicon as disease severity worsens in Alzheimer’s Disease and frontotemporal dementia.