Effect of prefrontal cortex damage on resolving lexical ambiguity in text

Carol Frattali, Rebecca Hanna, Anita Shukla McGinty, Lynn Gerber, Robert Wesley, Jordan Grafman*, Carl Coelho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The function of suppression of context-inappropriate meanings during lexical ambiguity resolution was examined in 25 adults with prefrontal cortex damage (PFCD) localized to the left (N = 8), right (N = 6), or bilaterally (N = 11); and 21 matched Controls. Results revealed unexpected inverse patterns of suppression between PFCD and Control groups, with measures suggesting decreased interference across time in the PFCD group and increased interference in the Control group. The PFCD group, however, had significantly lower accuracy rates for the context-inappropriate condition. Results suggest a loss of the control aspects of inhibitory processes in lexical ambiguity resolution following PFCD. An aging effect on suppression function is also suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-113
Number of pages15
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Aging effects
  • Inhibitory control
  • Lexical ambiguity
  • Prefrontal cortex damage
  • Suppression
  • Text comprehension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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