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Phonological and semantic fluencies are mediated by different regions of the prefrontal cortex

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Verbal phonological and semantic fluencies were investigated in 24 patients with unilateral prefrontal lesions and 10 normal control subjects. Lesions were limited to small areas within either the dorsolateral (Brodmann?s area 46/9) or ventromedial (posterior part of the gyrus rectus) cortices. In a phonological fluency task, patients with lesions to the left dorsolateral region were impaired. In semantic fluency, not only the left dorsolateral group but also the two right frontal damaged groups performed worse than the control group. In agreement with previous studies, our results show that the phonological fluency is mediated by the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In contrast to this, performance on the semantic fluency task depends on a wider portion of the prefrontal cortex involving the left and right dorsolateral and the right ventromedial areas.



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I. Szatkowska, Department of Neurophysiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, 3 Pasteur St., 02-093 Warsaw, Poland, E-mail:iwona@nencki.gov.pl


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