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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

Summer 1995, Vol. 7, No. 3, Pages 396-407
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.1995.7.3.396)
© 1995 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Representation of Grammatical Categories of Words in the Brain
Article PDF (1.43 MB)

We report the performance of a patient who, as a consequence of left frontal and temporoparietal strokes, makes far more errors on nouns than on verbs in spoken output tasks, but makes far more errors on verbs than on nouns in written input tasks. This double dissociation within a single patient with respect to grammatical category provides evidence for the hypothesis that phonological and orthographic representations of nouns and verbs are processed by independent neural mechanisms. Furthermore, the opposite dissociation in the verbal output modality, an advantage for nouns over verbs in spoken tasks, by a different patient using the same stimuli has also been reported (Caramazza & Hillis, 1991). This double dissociation across patients on the same task indicates that results cannot be ascribed to "greater difficulty" with one type of stimulus, and provides further evidence for the view that grammatical category information is an important organizational principle of lexical knowledge in the brain.