The anterior temporal lobes and the functional architecture of semantic memory

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2009 Sep;15(5):645-9. doi: 10.1017/S1355617709990348. Epub 2009 Jul 27.


Recently, three accounts have emerged on the role of the anterior temporal lobes (ATLs) in semantic memory. One account claims that the ATLs are domain-general semantic hubs, another claims that they underlie knowledge of unique entities specifically, and yet another account claims that they support social conceptual knowledge generally. Here, we review neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies that bear on these three accounts and offer suggestions for future research to elucidate the roles of the ATLs in semantic memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Semantics*
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*