Intracranial EEG evidence of functional specialization for taxonomic and thematic relations

Melissa Thye, Jason Geller, Jerzy P. Szaflarski, Daniel Mirman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The dual-hub account posits that the neural organization of semantic knowledge is segregated by the type of semantic relation with anterior temporal lobe (ATL) specializing for taxonomic relations and inferior parietal lobule (IPL) for thematic relations. This study critically examined this account by recording intracranial EEG from an array of depth electrodes within ATL, IPL, and two regions within the semantic control network, inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG), while 17 participants with refractory epilepsy completed a semantic relatedness judgment task. We observed a significant difference between relation types in ATL and IPL approximately 600–800 ms after trial presentation, and no significant differences in IFG or pMTG. Within this time window, alpha and theta suppression indexing cognitive effort and memory retrieval was observed in ATL for taxonomic trials and in IPL for thematic trials. These results suggest taxonomic specialization in ATL and thematic specialization in IPL, consistent with the dual-hub account of semantic cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-50
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Intracranial EEG
  • Semantic cognition
  • Taxonomic
  • Thematic


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