Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Cognitive Science Society


The cortical organization of the semantic network has been studied extensively in neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies. Recent theories have heavily relied on the observation of category-specific activations, i.e., the preferential activations in brain regions for specific semantic categories. With decades of research, a full understanding of the organization has not yet been reached, since little is known about the factors that contribute to the variances in observed activation patterns across numerous neuroimaging studies. In this study, we first reviewed 97 published papers that reported category-specific activations for living or nonliving concepts in the past two decades. Then, using the Activation Likelihood Estimate (ALE) method, we characterized the brain activation associated with living and nonliving concepts, revealing the influences of relevant factors (e.g., neuroimaging mode, task demands, and stimuli modality), and analyzing these findings in relation to theoretical accounts of cortical semantic networks.


© 2020 The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY).

Included in

Psychology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.