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Brain Lang. 2004 May;89(2):267-76.

Lateralization of auditory language functions: a dynamic dual pathway model.

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Max Planck Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, P.O. Box 500 355, 04303 Leipzig, Germany.


Spoken language comprehension requires the coordination of different subprocesses in time. After the initial acoustic analysis the system has to extract segmental information such as phonemes, syntactic elements and lexical-semantic elements as well as suprasegmental information such as accentuation and intonational phrases, i.e., prosody. According to the dynamic dual pathway model of auditory language comprehension syntactic and semantic information are primarily processed in a left hemispheric temporo-frontal pathway including separate circuits for syntactic and semantic information whereas sentence level prosody is processed in a right hemispheric temporo-frontal pathway. The relative lateralization of these functions occurs as a result of stimulus properties and processing demands. The observed interaction between syntactic and prosodic information during auditory sentence comprehension is attributed to dynamic interactions between the two hemispheres.

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