Neural correlates of the object-recall process in semantic memory

Michal Assaf, Vince D. Calhoun, Cheedem H. Kuzu, Michael A. Kraut, Paul R. Rivkin, John Hart, Godfrey D. Pearlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


The recall of an object from features is a specific operation in semantic memory in which the thalamus and pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA) are integrally involved. Other higher-order semantic cortices are also likely to be involved. We used the object-recall-from-features paradigm, with more sensitive scanning techniques and larger sample size, to replicate and extend our previous results. Eighteen right-handed healthy participants performed an object-recall task and an association semantic task, while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. During object-recall, subjects determined whether words pairs describing object features combined to recall an object; during the association task they decided if two words were related. Of brain areas specifically involved in object recall, in addition to the thalamus and pre-SMA, other regions included the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, inferior parietal lobule, and middle temporal gyrus, and bilateral rostral anterior cingulate and inferior frontal gyri. These regions are involved in semantic processing, verbal working memory and response-conflict detection and monitoring. The thalamus likely helps to coordinate activity of these different brain areas. Understanding the circuit that normally mediates this process is relevant for schizophrenia, where many regions in this circuit are functionally abnormal and semantic memory is impaired.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-126
Number of pages12
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Oct 30 2006


  • Anterior cingulate cortex
  • Language
  • Neuroimaging
  • Thalamus
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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