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J Cogn Neurosci. 2001 Feb 15;13(2):272-83.

Relative shift in activity from medial to lateral frontal cortex during internally versus externally guided word generation.

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University of Florida, USA.


Goldberg (1985) hypothesized that as language output changes from internally to externally guided production, activity shifts from supplementary motor area (SMA) to lateral premotor areas, including Broca's area. To test this hypothesis, 15 right-handed native English speakers performed three word generation tasks varying in the amount of internal guidance and a repetition task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Volumes of significant activity for each task versus a resting state were derived using voxel-by-voxel repeated-measures t tests (p <.001) across subjects. Changes in the size of activity volumes for left medial frontal regions (SMA and pre-SMA/BA 32) versus left lateral frontal regions (Broca's area, inferior frontal sulcus) were assessed as internal guidance of word generation decreased and external guidance increased. Comparing SMA to Broca's area, Goldberg's hypothesis was not verified. However, pre-SMA/BA 32 activity volumes decreased significantly and inferior frontal sulcus activity volumes increased significantly as word generation tasks moved from internally to externally guided.

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