Intrinsic Connectivity of Anterior Temporal Lobe Relates to Individual Differences in in Semantic Retrieval for Landmarks

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Contemporary neuroscientific accounts suggest that ventral anterior temporal lobe (ATL) acts as a bilateral heteromodal semantic hub, which is particularly critical for the specific-level knowledge needed to recognise unique entities, such as familiar landmarks and faces. There may also be graded functional differences between left and right ATL, relating to effects of modality (linguistic versus non-linguistic) and category (e.g., knowledge of people and places). Individual differences in intrinsic connectivity from left and right ATL might be associated with variation in semantic categorisation performance across these categories and modalities. We recorded resting-state fMRI in 74 individuals and, in a separate session, examined semantic categorisation. People with greater connectivity between left and right ATL were more efficient at categorising landmarks (e.g. Eiffel Tower), especially when these were presented visually. In addition, participants who showed stronger connectivity from right than left ATL to medial occipital cortex showed more efficient semantic categorisation of landmarks regardless of modality of presentation. These results can be interpreted in terms of graded differences in the patterns of connectivity across left and right ATL, which give rise to a bilateral yet partially segregated semantic ‘hub’. More specifically, right ATL connectivity supports the efficient semantic categorisation of landmarks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-91
Number of pages16
JournalCortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior
Early online date31 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2020 Elsevier Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • Hemispheric Differences
  • Modality
  • Anterior Temporal Lobe
  • fMRI
  • Intrinsic Connectivity

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