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Brain Lang. 1998 May;62(3):311-41.

First-pass versus second-pass parsing processes in a Wernicke's and a Broca's aphasic: electrophysiological evidence for a double dissociation.

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Max-Planck-Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Leipzig, Germany.


The present paper is a first attempt to integrate the classical brain lesion behavioral impairment approach of functional neuroanatomy and the electrophysiological brain mapping approach in the domain of syntactic processing. In a group of normal age-matched controls we identified three electrophysiological components previously observed in correlation with language comprehension processes: an early left anterior negativity normally seen in correlation with syntactic first-pass parsing processes (ELAN), a centroparietal negativity seen in correlation with processes of lexical-semantic integration (N400), and a late centroparietal positivity observed in correlation with secondary syntactic processes of reanalysis and repair (P600). The early left anterior negativity was absent in a patient with an extended lesion in the anterior part of the left hemisphere sparing the temporal lobe, although the late centroparietal positivity and the centroparietal N400 were present. In a patient with a left temporal-parietal lesion the early left anterior negativity was found to be present, whereas the N400 component was absent. These findings suggest that first-pass parsing and secondary processes are subserved by distinct brain systems.

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