Evoked Potential Correlates of Semantic Information Processing in Normals and Aphasics

  • Robert W. Thatcher
  • Robert S. April


Of Eric Lenneberg’s understanding of language there is one aspect that we consider particularly relevant and which we will emphasize in this chapter. This contribution comes from Lenneberg’s belief that neurolinguists must search for a fundamental process that occupies a central position in all higher level cognitive functions. As Lenneberg (1970) states, “No psychobiological model of language can be considered to be adequate unless it comes to grips with the notion of language knowledge and its relationship to knowledge in general” (p. 636). Throughout his writings Lenneberg searched for a single process or a set of central processes which were fundamental to all higher-level operations including perception, language, thought, and knowledge. It was from this background that Lenneberg so forcefully argued that “sensory recognition processes were homologous to language processes” (Lenneberg, 1970). Although Lenneberg never described precisely what these basic processes were, he nevertheless felt it was important to emphasize that language and logic share the basic property of classification and discrimination (Lenneberg, 1967, 1970). As discussed more completely by Lenneberg (1970), the notions of discrimination and classification were formalized into laws of thought and knowledge by George Boole in 1854. The famous “Boolean algebra” is based on a binary classification scheme which, in essence, creates a formalism of the concepts of “sameness” and “difference.”


Neutral Word Categorical Perception Evoke Potential Hemispheric Asymmetry Word Condition 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Thatcher
    • 1
  • Robert S. April
    • 2
  1. 1.Brain Research LabsNew York Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, New York Medical CollegeCenter for Chronic DiseaseRoosevelt IslandUSA

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