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This article is part of the Research Topic The neurocognition of language production


Front. Psychol., 12 October 2011 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00255

The spatial and temporal signatures of word production components: a critical update

  • 1 Institut für Sprache und Information, Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 2 Donders Institute, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands

In the first decade of neurocognitive word production research the predominant approach was brain mapping, i.e., investigating the regional cerebral brain activation patterns correlated with word production tasks, such as picture naming and word generation. Indefrey and Levelt (2004) conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis of word production studies that used this approach and combined the resulting spatial information on neural correlates of component processes of word production with information on the time course of word production provided by behavioral and electromagnetic studies. In recent years, neurocognitive word production research has seen a major change toward a hypothesis-testing approach. This approach is characterized by the design of experimental variables modulating single component processes of word production and testing for predicted effects on spatial or temporal neurocognitive signatures of these components. This change was accompanied by the development of a broader spectrum of measurement and analysis techniques. The article reviews the findings of recent studies using the new approach. The time course assumptions of Indefrey and Levelt (2004) have largely been confirmed requiring only minor adaptations. Adaptations of the brain structure/function relationships proposed by Indefrey and Levelt (2004) include the precise role of subregions of the left inferior frontal gyrus as well as a probable, yet to date unclear role of the inferior parietal cortex in word production.

Keywords: language production, word production, picture naming, neuroimaging

Citation: Indefrey P (2011) The spatial and temporal signatures of word production components: a critical update. Front. Psychology 2:255. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00255

Received: 15 March 2011; Accepted: 13 September 2011;
Published online: 12 October 2011.

Edited by:

Albert Costa, University Pompeu Fabra, Spain

Reviewed by:

William W. Graves, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA
Stephen Wilson, University of Arizona, USA

Copyright: © 2011 Indefrey. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

*Correspondence: Peter Indefrey, Institut für Sprache und Information, Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. e-mail: indefrey@phil.uni-duesseldorf.de