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Neuron. 2004 Jul 22;43(2):283-91.

Prefrontal cortex guides context-appropriate responding during language production.

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  • 1Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, 65211, USA.


Although language processing is thought to frequently require cognitive control, little is known about the cognitive and neural basis of the control of language. Here, we demonstrate that processing of context by the PFC plays an important role in the control of language comprehension and production. Using a missing letter paradigm and fMRI, we found that increased activation in the PFC (but not in posterior regions), while encoding and maintaining context information, predicted context-appropriate responses. Furthermore, greater selection demands increased activity during responding in the same regions engaged during the encoding and maintenance of context. Overall, as in other cognitive task domains, these results suggest that PFC context processing plays an important role in the control of language.

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