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Neuron. 2002 Aug 1;35(3):589-97.

Specialization in the left prefrontal cortex for sentence comprehension.

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Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Komaba, 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan.


Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we examined cortical activation under syntactic decision tasks and a short-term memory task for sentences, focusing on essential properties of syntactic processing. By comparing activation in these tasks with a short-term memory task for word lists, we found that two regions in the left prefrontal cortex showed selective activation for syntactic processing: the dorsal prefrontal cortex (DPFC) and the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). Moreover, the left DPFC showed more prominent activation under the short-term memory task for sentences than that for word lists, which cannot be explained by general cognitive factors such as task difficulty and verbal short-term memory. These results support the proposal of specialized systems for sentence comprehension in the left prefrontal cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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