Exploring the neural organization of person-related knowledge

Lateralization of lesion, category specificity, and stimulus modality effects

Natalie A. Lambert, Michelle A. Swain, Laurie A. Miller, Diana Caine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


While it is generally agreed that the right fusiform gyrus is specialized for face recognition, the question of whether knowledge about persons is lateralized in the temporal lobes is more contentious. Does knowledge about people differ from other kinds of object knowledge with respect to brain laterality? Are side-of-lesion effects mediated by stimulus modality? This study aimed to investigate these questions by comparing patients with left temporal (LT) (n = 8) and right temporal (RT) (n = 11) lesions to control subjects (n = 12) on verbal and visual tests of people, buildings, and objects. The RT group was impaired at recognizing famous faces, but not at choosing the picture of a famous building or a famous name from nonfamous distracters. The LT group was impaired at naming people, buildings, and objects, regardless of stimulus modality. When presemantic processing was controlled for, neither patient group was impaired in producing person-specific knowledge to faces or names, supporting the notion that semantic knowledge for people as for other kinds of objects, is stored in a distributed network across both hemispheres, regardless of stimulus modality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-354
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biographical knowledge
  • Person-specific knowledge
  • Semantic memory and brain laterality
  • Semantic memory and modality effects
  • Temporal lobe

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