Conceptual knowledge is underpinned by the temporal pole bilaterally: Convergent evidence from rTMS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Conceptual knowledge provides the basis on which we bring meaning to our world. Studies of semantic dementia patients and some functional neuroimaging studies indicate that the anterior temporal lobes, bilaterally, are the core neural substrate for the formation of semantic representations. This hypothesis remains controversial, however, as traditional neurological models of comprehension do not posit a role for these regions. To adjudicate on this debate, we conducted 2 novel experiments that used off-line, low-frequency, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to disrupt neural processing temporarily in the left or right temporal poles (TPs). The time required to make semantic decisions was slowed considerably, yet specifically, by this procedure. The results confirm that both TPs form a critical substrate within the neural network that supports conceptual knowledge.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-838
Number of pages6
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009