Neuromodulation of Word Meaning Selection

Gabrielle Scheler

Processes of word meaning generation, word association and understanding are known to be impaired in schizophrenia and related diseases. Word meaning selection requires the involvement of prefrontal cortex and processes of working memory and selective attention. Under the dopaminergic hypothesis of schizophrenia, the normal neuromodulatory activation of prefrontal cortex for the performance of working memory-related tasks is disturbed. We present a model of selective attention and its modulation by dopamine and show how abnormal levels of dopamine availability may lead to some of the observed impairments in word meaning selection, namely (a) failure to construct contextually appropriate meanings and (b) intrusions of phonological and episodic associative links within semantic processing.

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