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Neuroimage. 2006 Jan 1;29(1):254-66. Epub 2005 Aug 18.

Cognitive modules utilized for narrative comprehension in children: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

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Imaging Research Center, Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave. ML 5031, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


The ability to comprehend narratives constitutes an important component of human development and experience. The neural correlates of auditory narrative comprehension in children were investigated in a large-scale functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study involving 313 subjects ages 5-18. Using group independent component analysis (ICA), bilateral task-related components were found comprising the primary auditory cortex, the mid-superior temporal gyrus, the hippocampus, the angular gyrus, and medial aspect of the parietal lobule (precuneus/posterior cingulate). In addition, a right-lateralized component was found involving the most posterior aspect of the superior temporal gyrus, and a left-lateralized component was found comprising the inferior frontal gyrus (including Broca's area), the inferior parietal lobule, and the medial temporal gyrus. Using a novel data-driven analysis technique, increased task-related activity related to age was found in the components comprising the mid-superior temporal gyrus (Wernicke's area) and the posterior aspect of the superior temporal gyrus, while decreased activity related to age was found in the component comprising the angular gyrus. The results are discussed in light of recent hypotheses involving the functional segregation of Wernicke's area and the specific role of the mid-superior temporal gyrus in speech comprehension.

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