Impaired naming of unique landmarks is associated with left temporal polar damage

Neuropsychology. 2006 Jan;20(1):1-10. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.20.1.1.


Previous studies have shown that the left temporal polar (TP) region is important for the retrieval of proper names for persons. It has been proposed that the key specialization of left TP is for proper nouns (rather than names for persons, per se), which predicts that left TP should support other categories whose members are denoted by proper names (e.g., landmarks). A lesion study tested the hypothesis that impaired naming of famous unique landmarks would be associated with damage to left TP. A Landmark Recognition and Naming Test was administered to participants with lesions to left TP, right TP, or regions outside TP. The results provided strong support for the hypothesis: Landmark naming was significantly inferior in the left group, supporting the hypothesis. The findings converge with previous lesion and functional imaging data to support the idea that the left TP region is important for the retrieval of names for unique entities. This fits the proposal that left TP contains convergence regions that operate as intermediaries between conceptual knowledge retrieval and lexical retrieval for classes of unique stimuli (H. Damasio, D. Tranel, T. J. Grabowski, R. Adolphs, & A. R. Damasio, 2004).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anomia / physiopathology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Face
  • Famous Persons
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology
  • Semantics*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Verbal Learning / physiology*