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AREAS of the brain's left hemisphere involved in retrieving words with emotional connotations were studied with fMRI. Participants silently generated words from different semantic categories which evoked either words with emotional connotations or emotionally neutral words. Participants repeated emotionally neutral words as a control task. Compared with generation of emotionally neutral words, generation of words with emotional connotations engaged cortices near the left frontal and temporal poles which are connected to the limbic system. Thus, emotional connotations of words are processed in or near cortices with access to emotional experience.