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Neuroreport. 2005 Oct 17;16(15):1661-5.

A functional magnetic resonance imaging study of discourse coherence in typically developing children.

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Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, University of California at Los Angeles, 90095, USA.


Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and a previously validated activation paradigm, we investigated the neural networks involved in detecting discourse coherence in a sample of typically developing children. Study participants listened to short question-answer dialogues and determined whether the answers made sense. Consistent with prior adult findings, when this decision involved an implicit appraisal of the conversation logic, frontotemporal activity was strongly left lateralized. In contrast, when this determination involved detecting a change in the conversation topic, activity in frontotemporal regions was bilateral, with a right hemisphere bias. Despite behavioral performance differences, children and adults showed remarkably similar activation profiles when making sense of conversation, indicating that the neural architecture subserving this fundamental communicative function is established relatively early during normal development.

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