A social-semantic working-memory account for two canonical language areas

Nature human behaviour(2023)

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摘要
Language and social cognition are traditionally studied as separate cognitive domains, yet accumulative studies reveal overlapping neural correlates at the left ventral temporoparietal junction (vTPJ) and the left lateral anterior temporal lobe (lATL), which have been attributed to sentence processing and social concept activation. We propose a common cognitive component underlying both effects: social-semantic working memory. We confirmed two key predictions of our hypothesis using functional MRI. First, the left vTPJ and lATL showed sensitivity to sentences only when the sentences conveyed social meaning; second, these regions showed persistent social-semantic-selective activity after the linguistic stimuli disappeared. We additionally found that both regions were sensitive to the socialness of non-linguistic stimuli and were more tightly connected with the social-semantic-processing areas than with the sentence-processing areas. The converging evidence indicates the social-semantic working-memory function of the left vTPJ and lATL and challenges the general-semantic and/or syntactic accounts for the neural activity of these regions.
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关键词
language,canonical,social-semantic,working-memory
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