A case of impaired knowledge for fruit and vegetables

Cogn Neuropsychol. 2003 May 1;20(3):373-400. doi: 10.1080/02643290244000329.


In this paper, we report the case of RS, a brain-damaged patient presenting with a disproportionate conceptual impairment for fruit and vegetables in comparison to animals and artefacts. We argue that such a finer-grained category-specific deficit than the living/nonliving dichotomy provides a source of critical evidence for assessing current alternative theories of conceptual organisation in the brain. The case study was designed to evaluate distinct expectations derived from the categorical and the knowledge-specific accounts for category-specific semantic deficits. In particular, the integrity of object-colour knowledge has been assessed in order to determine whether the patient's deficit for fruit and vegetables was associated with a deficit for that kind of knowledge, which has been claimed to be highly diagnostic for fruit and vegetables. The results showed that the patient's pattern of performance is consistent with theories assuming a topographical category-like organisation of conceptual knowledge in the brain.