Nov 18, 2019

Names and their meanings: A dual-process account of proper-name encoding and retrieval

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Thomas O'Rourke, Ruth de Diego Balaguer


The ability to pick out a unique entity with a proper name is an important component of human language. It has been a primary focus of research in the philosophy of language since the nineteenth century. Brain-based evidence has shed new light on this capacity, and an extensive literature indicates the involvement of distinct fronto-temporal and temporo-occipito-parietal association cortices in proper-name retrieval. However, comparatively few efforts have sought to explain how memory encoding processes lead to the later recruitment of these distinct regions at retrieval. Here, we provide a unified account of proper-name encoding and retrieval, reviewing evidence that socio-emotional and unitized encoding subserve the retrieval of proper names via anterior-temporal-prefrontal activations. Meanwhile, non-unitized item-item and item-context encoding support subsequent retrieval, largely dependent on the temporo-occipito-parietal cortex. We contend that this well-established divergence in encoding systems can explain how proper names are later retrieved from distinct neural structures. Furthermore, we explore how evidence reviewed here can inform a century-and-a-half-old debate about proper names and the meanings they pick out.

  • References
  • Citations


  • We're still populating references for this paper, please check back later.
  • References
  • Citations


  • This paper may not have been cited yet.

Mentioned in this Paper

Prefrontal Cortex
Structure of Retromandibular Vein
Fronto-orbital Sulcus
Cerebral Cortex
Neural Networks (Anatomic)

Related Feeds

Brain Circuits in Emotional Learning

The neuronal circuits within the cortico-limbic brain regions form networks that mediate emotional behavior. Areas specific to emotional learning include the basal amygdala and sublenticular extended amygdala region along with a supplemental motor area. Discover the latest research on brain circuits in emotional learning here.

Cell Adhesion Molecules in the Brain

Cell adhesion molecules found on cell surface help cells bind with other cells or the extracellular matrix to maintain structure and function. Here is the latest research on their role in the brain.