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Cereb Cortex. 2003 Dec;13(12):1362-8.

Defining a left-lateralized response specific to intelligible speech using fMRI.

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Centre for the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB), Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, UK.


Functional imaging studies of language have shown bilateral superior temporal activations in response to 'passive' perception of speech when the baseline condition did not control for the acoustic complexity of speech. Controlling for this complexity demonstrates speech-specific processing lateralized to the left temporal lobe, and our recent positron emission tomography study has emphasized a role for left anterolateral temporal cortex in speech comprehension. This contrasts with the more usual view that relates speech comprehension to left temporal-parietal cortex, the ill-defined area of Wernicke. This study attempted to reconcile these differences, using a more sensitive 3 T functional magnetic resonance imaging system, and a sparse sampling paradigm. We found left lateralized activations for intelligible speech with two distinct foci, one in the anterior superior temporal sulcus and the other on the posterior temporal lobe. Therefore, the results demonstrate that there are neural responses to intelligible speech along the length of the left lateral temporal neocortex, although the precise processing roles of the anterior and posterior regions cannot be determined from this study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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