Verb-Noun double dissociation in aphasia: theoretical and neuroanatomical foundations


Cortex, 42, 875-883


September, 2006


Luzzatti, C., Aggujaro, S., & Crepaldi, D.

This paper reports the results of several studies on the mechanisms underlying Verb-Noun (V-N) dissociation. The objectives of the studies were to ascertain the location of the lesions causing predominant V or N impairment and to shed light on the different mental representations of these word classes through analyses of the data from neuropsychological patients. With regard to lesion sites, results obtained through an anatomo-correlative study on 15 V-impaired and 5 N- impaired aphasic patients indicate that lesions causing predominant N impairment were mostly located in the middle and inferior left temporal area. Three alternative lesion sites were associated with a V deficit (left posterior temporo-parietal lesions; large left fronto-temporal perisylvian lesions; deep lesions of the insula and/or the basal ganglia). In contrast to the results obtained from several neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies, none of the V-impaired patients had an isolated frontal lesion. The second aim is to discuss grammatical class interaction with semantic factors such as actionality or imageability (said to be the real cause of V-N dissociation). The retrieval of Ns and Vs in a sentence context was tested on 16 V-impaired aphasic patients and the resulting data indicate that imageability interacts with the retrieval of Ns and Vs, but cannot completely account for their dissociation.