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Trends Cogn Sci. 2002 Feb 1;6(2):78-84.

Towards a neural basis of auditory sentence processing.

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


Functional dissociations within the neural basis of auditory sentence processing are difficult to specify because phonological, syntactic and semantic information are all involved when sentences are perceived. In this review I argue that sentence processing is supported by a temporo-frontal network. Within this network, temporal regions subserve aspects of identification and frontal regions the building of syntactic and semantic relations. Temporal analyses of brain activation within this network support syntax-first models because they reveal that building of syntactic structure precedes semantic processes and that these interact only during a later stage.

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