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Professor Matthew Lambon Ralph FRSLT (hons), FBPsS

Photograph of Matthew Lambon Ralph

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience & Associate Vice-President (Research)


Our research makes use of four key methodologies: neuropsychology, computational models (models that can mimic neural organisation in their construction but also produce target behaviours), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), structural and functional neuroimaging. The various research projects can be summarised under three themes:

(1) Semantic memory : various interlinked projects explore the nature and neural underpinnings of semantic memory or conceptual knowledge, including category-specific disorders. This uses data from semantic dementia, herpes simplex virus encephalitis (HSVE), aphasia after CVA and temporal lobe resection for epilepsy for the neuropsychological investigations and is complemented by TMS, fMRI and MR tractography studies.

(2) Language : there are several ongoing projects exploring different aspects of language production and comprehension, and their neural bases. For neuropsychology, these include a direct comparison of fluent and non-fluent varieties of progressive and non-progressive aphasia; acquired dyslexias and dysgraphias; verb morphology deficits; and verbal short-term memory deficits. We also conduct parallel studies in neurological intact studies utilising experimental psycholingistics, TMS, computational modelling and fMRI studies.

(3) Recovery, rehabilitation and neuroplasticity : As well as concentrating on the nature of chronic and progressive cognitive and language deficits, the third theme is devoted to the study of the neural and cognitive principles that guide recovery and rehabilitation. This includes active rehabilitation programmes, longitudinal neuropsychological assessment of recovery, computational models of neuroplasticity and parallel functional imaging studies of patients.


I obtained my PhD from York University and then worked at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (Cambridge). I moved from there to the University of Bristol, Department of Experimental Psychology, as a Lecturer. I came to Manchester in 2001 as Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience within the School of Psychological Sciences. I am also Associate Vice-President (Research) and Director of the Manchester Doctoral College at the University. I am an Action Editor for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation and on the editorial boards for Cognitive Neuropsychology,  Memory, International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, Psychologia, and Neurocase. I was the President of The British Neuropsychological Society (2010-12) and the Vice-Chair for the British Aphasiology Society (2000-2005). I was made a Fellow (hons) of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in 2003, Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 2012 and an Honorary Research Professor of the University of Málaga in 2014. I am also a Senior Investigator Emeritus for the NIHR, and awarded the BPS President's Award in 2015.

Collaborators and affiliated staff



  • Prof. Manabu Ikeda
    Kumamoto University Hospital
  • Prof. Beth Jefferies
    University of York
  • Dr. Riki Matsumoto
    Kyoto University
  • Prof. Jay McClelland
    Stanford University
  • Prof. Karalyn Patterson
    MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge
  • Prof. Tim Rogers
    University of Madison-Wisconsin
  • Dr. Satoru Saito
    Kyoto University


Selected publications



  • Noonan, K. A., Jefferies, E., Visser, M., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2013).

    Going beyond inferior prefrontal involvement in semantic control: evidence for the additional contribution of dorsal angular gyrus and posterior middle temporal cortex.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(11), 1824-1850. DOI:doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00442. Publication link: 8bc18afd-9322-479c-b132-cd36d13691c3
  • Schapiro, A. C., McClelland, J. L., Welbourne, S. R., Rogers, T. T., & Ralph, M. A. L. (2013).

    Why bilateral damage is worse than unilateral damage to the brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(12), 2107-2123. DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00441. Publication link: 9f8e277d-cddb-4317-9f6c-00c866c81bc5 | PubMed:23806177


  • Binney, R. J., Parker, G. J. M., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2012).

    Convergent connectivity and graded specialization in the Rostral human temporal Lobe as revealed by diffusion-weighted imaging probabilistic tractography. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24(10), 1998-2014. DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00263. Publication link: cfb33867-f856-4edc-b382-4a5f3cedd29d | PubMed:22721379
  • Cloutman, L. L., Binney, R. J., Drakesmith, M., Parker, G. J. M., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2012).

    The variation of function across the human insula mirrors its patterns of structural connectivity: Evidence from in vivo probabilistic tractography. NeuroImage, 59(4), 3514-3521. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.11.016. Publication link: ac5f575d-f189-489c-8999-4c8bf35ac1f9 | PubMed:22100771
  • Lambon Ralph, M. A., Ehsan, S., Baker, G. A., & Rogers, T. T. (2012).

    Semantic memory is impaired in patients with unilateral anterior temporal lobe resection for temporal lobe epilepsy. Brain, 135(1), 242-258. DOI:10.1093/brain/awr325. Publication link: 508a5302-ec7a-4215-a947-325700325c59 | PubMed:22287382
  • Noonan, K. A., Pryer, L. R., Jones, R. W., Burns, A. S., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2012).

    A direct comparison of errorless and errorful therapy for object name relearning in Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 22(2), 215-234. DOI:10.1080/09602011.2012.655002. Publication link: 5e997a7c-f9ad-4769-bbb9-7512ab9a3b7c | PubMed:22376314
  • Robson, H., Sage, K., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2012).

    Wernicke's aphasia reflects a combination of acoustic-phonological and semantic control deficits: A case-series comparison of Wernicke's aphasia, semantic dementia and semantic aphasia. Neuropsychologia, 50(2), 266-275. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.11.021. Publication link: 9953a31a-66fd-4c4b-a5c3-e9b8ca111733 | PubMed:22178742
  • Visser, M., Jefferies, E., Embleton, K. V., & Ralph, M. A. L. (2012).

    Both the middle temporal gyrus and the ventral anterior temporal area are crucial for multimodal semantic processing: Distortion-corrected fMRI evidence for a double gradient of information convergence in the temporal lobes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24(8), 1766-1778. DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00244. Publication link: 70018109-5f89-4305-92e9-b1a60459229c | PubMed:22621260


  • Ueno, T., Saito, S., Rogers, T. T., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2011).

    Lichtheim 2: Synthesizing aphasia and the neural basis of language in a neurocomputational model of the dual dorsal-ventral language pathways. Neuron, 72(2), 385-396. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2011.09.013. Publication link: c6786173-c1e6-4f41-a39d-cd49e204487d
  • Visser, M., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2011).

    Differential contributions of bilateral ventral anterior temporal lobe and left anterior superior temporal gyrus to semantic processes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(10), 3121-3131. DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00007. Publication link: b27622ca-d4a5-4aa9-93c9-85deb4875058 | PubMed:21391767
  • Whitney, C., Kirk, M., O'Sullivan, J., Lambon Ralph, M. A., & Jefferies, E. (2011).

    The neural organization of semantic control: TMS evidence for a distributed network in left inferior frontal and posterior middle temporal gyrus. Cerebral Cortex, 21(5), 1066-1075. DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhq180. Publication link: a90fa10e-162c-4d54-82dc-f4ebefc29fd6


  • Binney, R. J., Embleton, K. V., Jefferies, E., Parker, G. J. M., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2010).

    The ventral and inferolateral aspects of the anterior temporal lobe are crucial in semantic memory: Evidence from a novel direct comparison of distortion-corrected fMRI, rTMS, and semantic dementia. Cerebral Cortex, 20(11), 2728-2738. DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhq019. Publication link: a60517c8-ebb1-4286-a6ad-e97e82922a0a | PubMed:20190005
  • Lambon Ralph, M. A., Cipolotti, L., Manes, F., & Patterson, K. (2010).

    Taking both sides: Do unilateral anterior temporal lobe lesions disrupt semantic memory?. Brain, 133(11), 3243-3255. DOI:10.1093/brain/awq264. Publication link: 6ca2d851-c7f0-482d-bbd4-6b1ea228c3ce
  • Lambon Ralph, M. A., Sage, K., Jones, R. W., & Mayberry, E. J. (2010).

    Coherent concepts are computed in the anterior temporal lobes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(6), 2717-2722. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0907307107. Publication link: d6237069-c2cf-4925-81b5-01794bb9caaa
  • Pobric, G., Jefferies, E., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2010).

    Category-Specific versus Category-General Semantic Impairment Induced by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Current Biology, 20(10), 964-968. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2010.03.070. Publication link: d0f03f19-f8ea-4329-ae3d-5306b8c1bf19 | PubMed:20451381
  • Visser, M., Jefferies, E., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2010).

    Semantic processing in the anterior temporal lobes: A meta-analysis of the functional neuroimaging literature. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(6), 1083-1094. DOI:10.1162/jocn.2009.21309. Publication link: c73446bb-f7ec-4ee6-a8db-4c1c675a92fd




  • Lambon Ralph, M. A., Lowe, C., & Rogers, T. T. (2007).

    Neural basis of category-specific semantic deficits for living things: Evidence from semantic dementia, HSVE and a neural network model. Brain, 130(4), 1127-1137. DOI:10.1093/brain/awm025. Publication link: eee826f4-14fd-464f-a170-2a80a90bc832 | PubMed:17438021
  • Pobric, G., Jefferies, E., & Ralph, M. A. L. (2007).

    Anterior temporal lobes mediate semantic representation: mimicking semantic dementia by using rTMS in normal participants.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(50), 20137-20141. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0707383104. Publication link: 0e416511-dd1f-44da-9782-44f38ceaa221 | PubMed:18056637
  • Welbourne, S. R., Lambon Ralph, M., & Lambon, R. M. A. (2007).

    Using PDP Models to Simulate Phonological Dyslexia: The Key Role of Plasticity-Related Recovery. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19 No 7. . Publication link: 45de3aac-3ff5-4049-95b5-96c64782c88b
  • Woollams, A. M., Ralph, M. A. L., Plaut, D. C., & Patterson, K. (2007).

    SD-squared: On the association between semantic dementia and surface dyslexia. Psychological Review, 114(2), 316-339. DOI:10.1037/0033-295X.114.2.316. Publication link: 61833dde-7910-4c48-ab41-73d126bd703a


  • Jefferies, E., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2006).

    Semantic impairment in stroke aphasia versus semantic dementia: A case-series comparison. Brain, 129(8), 2132-2147. DOI:10.1093/brain/awl153. Publication link: aa82feba-6380-4379-9631-b91a151fdfcf
  • Lambon Ralph, M. A., & Ehsan, S. (2006).

    Age of acquisition effects depend on the mapping between representations and the frequency of occurrence: Empirical and computational evidence. Visual Cognition, 13(7-8), 928-948. DOI:10.1080/13506280544000110. Publication link: d382310c-5a33-48e2-9731-32a06e50aaa5
  • Lambon Ralph, M., Crisp, J., & Lambon, R. M. A. (2006).

    Unlocking the nature of the phonological-deep dyslexial continuum: the keys to reading aloud are in phonology and semantics. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18. DOI:10.1162/jocn.2006.18.3.348. Publication link: 61008ff0-fba8-4af8-a76a-4d2a175da464
  • Lambon Ralph, M., Jefferies, E., Woollams, A. M., Patterson, K., Lambon, R. M. A., Jones, R., ... Rogers, T. T. (2006).

    'Pre-semantic' cognition in semantic dementia: Six deficits in search of an explanation.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18. . Publication link: 433e3e71-569e-4c8c-b88d-870a7649613a


  • Parker, G., Parker, G. J. M., Luzzi, S., Alexander, D. C., Wheeler-Kingshott, C. A. M., Ciccarelli, O., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2005).

    Lateralization of ventral and dorsal auditory-language pathways in the human brain. NeuroImage, 24(3), 656-666. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.08.047. Publication link: a5f59691-cf1c-4c9e-8d83-26c56b2b3ffa


  • Rogers, T. T., Lambon Ralph, M. A., Garrard, P., Bozeat, S., McClelland, J. L., Hodges, J. R., & Patterson, K. (2004).

    Structure and Deterioration of Semantic Memory: A Neuropsychological and Computational Investigation. Psychological Review, 111(1), 205-235. DOI:10.1037/0033-295X.111.1.205. Publication link: eea23acf-aa94-47b2-8880-587bbc12a6db


  • Lambon Ralph, M., Bird, H., Seidenberg, M. S., Lambon, R. M. A., McClelland, J. L., & Patterson, K. (2003).

    Deficits in phonology and past tense morphology. Journal of Memory and Language, 48. . Publication link: ee82e4db-a016-4185-b23c-c37a423d72db


  • Lambon Ralph, M. A., Mcclelland, J. L., Patterson, K., Galton, C. J., & Hodges, J. R. (2001).

    No right to speak? The relationship between object naming and semantic impairment: Neuropsychological evidence and a computational model. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 13(3), 341-356. DOI:10.1162/08989290151137395. Publication link: dfd1c4e4-0492-45c8-ab98-a4992b67ebe1
  • Patterson, K., Ralph, M. A. L., Hodges, J. R., & McClelland, J. L. (2001).

    Deficits in irregular past-tense verb morphology associated with degraded semantic knowledge. Neuropsychologia, 39(7), 709-724. DOI:10.1016/S0028-3932(01)00008-2. Publication link: 37225d1a-89a2-4c12-9fc3-4a8e967082ec


  • Bozeat, S., Lambon Ralph, M. A., Patterson, K., Garrard, P., & Hodges, J. R. (2000).

    Non-verbal semantic impairment in semantic dementia. Neuropsychologia, 38(9), 1207-1215. DOI:10.1016/S0028-3932(00)00034-8. Publication link: d3394708-10e6-4dc0-8b4f-4e71d532e1e9
  • Ellis, A. W., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2000).

    Age of Acquisition Effects in Adult Lexical Processing Reflect Loss of Plasticity in Maturing Systems: Insights from Connectionist Networks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, 26(5), 1103-1123. . Publication link: d313c6ee-de05-4763-96a0-1d6dc358b075



  • Lambon Ralph, M., Lambon, R. M. A., Howard, D., Nightingale, G., & Ellis, A. W. (1998).

    Are living and non-living category-specific deficits casually linked to impaired perceptual or associative knowledge? Evidence from a category-specific double dissociation. Neurocase, 4, 4-5. . Publication link: 9fcd384f-17b1-4c67-bcf4-2cca3366b9bf

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