Semantic monitoring of words with emotional connotation during fMRI: Contribution of anterior left frontal cortex

Bruce Crosson, M. Allison Cato, Joseph R. Sadek, Didem Gökçay, Russell M. Bauer, Ira S. Fischler, Leeza Maron, Kaundinya Gopinath, Edward J. Auerbach, Samuel R. Browd, Richard W. Briggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Previous studies showed that cortex in the anterior portions of the left frontal and temporal lobes participates in generating words with emotional connotations and processing pictures with emotional content. If these cortices process the semantic attribute of emotional connotation, they should be active whenever processing emotional connotation, without respect to modality of input or mode of output. Thus, we hypothesized that they would activate during monitoring of words with emotional connotations. Sixteen normal subjects performed semantic monitoring of words with emotional connotations, animal names, and implement names during fMRI. Cortex in the anterior left frontal lobe demonstrated significant activity for monitoring words with emotional connotations compared to monitoring tone sequences, animal names, or implement names. Together, the current and previous results implicate cortex in the anterior left frontal lobe in semantic processing of emotional connotation, consistent with connections of this cortex to paralimbic association areas. Current findings also indicate that neural substrates for processing emotional connotation are independent of substrates for processing the categories of living and nonliving things.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-622
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotion
  • Frontal lobe
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Limbic system
  • Semantics
  • Temporal lobe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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