Neural correlates of locative prepositions

Neuropsychologia. 2008 Apr;46(5):1576-80. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2007.12.022. Epub 2008 Jan 5.


Locative prepositions might be special linguistic modifiers because they form a natural link between verbal and visual-spatial information. In the present fMRI study we found evidence that understanding categorical spatial relations expressed in language with locative prepositions such as "to the left of" and "to the right of" were reliably associated with cerebral activity in the supramarginal gyrus (SMG) located in the left inferior parietal lobe. The higher activity associated with spatial as compared to non-spatial sentences in this region was not dependent on the context (verbal or visual-spatial) in which the sentence was read. Therefore, the function of this activity appears to be to create a general, amodal representation of locative prepositions that allow for flexible comparisons to either verbal or visual-spatial material.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Psycholinguistics*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reading
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*


  • Oxygen