Temporal dynamics of verbal object comprehension

John Hart, Nathan E. Crone, Ronald P. Lesser, Jeffrey Sieracki, Diana L. Miglioretti, Charles Hall, David Sherman, Barry Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Knowledge of the stage composition and the temporal dynamics of human cognitive operations is critical for building theories of higher mental activity. This information has been difficult to acquire, even with different combinations of techniques such as refined behavioral testing, electrical recording/interference, and metabolic imaging studies. Verbal object comprehension was studied herein in a single individual, by using three tasks (object naming, auditory word comprehension, and visual word comprehension), two languages (English and Farsi), and four techniques (stimulus manipulation, direct cortical electrical interference, electrocorticography, and a variation of the technique of direct cortical electrical interference to produce time-delimited effects, called timeslicing), in a subject in whom indwelling subdural electrode arrays had been placed for clinical purposes. Electrical interference at a pair of electrodes on the left lateral occipitotemporal gyrus interfered with naming in both languages and with comprehension in the language tested (English). The naming and comprehension deficit resulted from interference with processing of verbal object meaning. Electrocorticography indices of cortical activation at this site during naming started 250-300 msec after visual stimulus presentation. By using the timeslicing technique, which varies the onset of electrical interference relative to the behavioral task, we found that completion of processing for verbal object meaning varied from 450 to 750 msec after current onset. This variability was found to be a function of the subject's familiarity with the objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6498-6503
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 26 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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