TMS interferes with lexical-semantic retrieval in left inferior frontal gyrus and posterior middle temporal gyrus: Evidence from cyclical picture naming

Katya Krieger-Redwood, Elizabeth Jefferies*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We used TMS to investigate the contribution of left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) and posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG) to lexical/semantic selection and retrieval processes using a cyclical naming paradigm. Participants named pictures that were presented repeatedly across six cycles, either in semantically related or unrelated sets. Previous research has suggested that selection demands are higher for related sets, especially after repetition, since participants experience competition from the activation of semantic neighbours. In contrast, retrieval demands are greater for unrelated sets in the absence of semantic priming, particularly on the first cycle when the target names have not been previously activated. Therefore, this paradigm can reveal independent effects of (i) retrieval demands (i.e., the ease of accessing picture names from visual input) and (ii) selection/competition. We found that rTMS to LIFG and pMTG produced similar behavioural effects: stimulation of both sites disrupted picture naming performance on early cycles (when participants were less practised at producing the picture names) and for semantically-related sets (when there was the potential for increased competition and yet also facilitation from semantic neighbours). There were no effects of TMS when either retrieval or selection requirements were maximal on their own. The data therefore support the view that both LIFG and pMTG contribute to picture name retrieval, with both sites playing a critical role in mediating the semantic facilitation of naming when retrieval demands are high.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
Early online date16 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

Date of Acceptance: 05/09/2014

© 2014 Elsevier. This is an author produced version of a paper accepted for publication in Neuropsychologia. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.


  • Naming
  • Retrieval
  • Selection
  • Semantic
  • TMS

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