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When Broca experiences the Janus syndrome: an ER-fMRI study comparing sentence comprehension and cognitive sequence processing.

Abstract : The determining of brain regions that exhibit specific activity during sentence comprehension compared to other non-linguistic cognitive tasks constitutes one of the important challenges in the domain of functional neuroimaging of the faculty of language. In the current paper we report an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (ER-fMRI) experiment, in which we directly compared the cerebral basis of sentence comprehension on the one hand, and of abstract sequence processing on the other hand. Previous experimental work done in our group, as well as different observations from recent behavioural, neurophysiological and functional neuroimaging experiments led us to propose the hypothesis that both of these tasks would share certain computational properties. Thus, this experiment was designed to show which brain regions would be implicated in both tasks and compare them to brain regions that would be specifically engaged in sentence comprehension. Results from this experiment suggest that distinct sub-regions in the left prefrontal cortex, potentially including Broca's area show distinct activation patterns during both of these tasks. Results are discussed in the context of a construction-based model of sentence processing (see Dominey and Hoen, 2006, this issue) that is based on a dual-path processing mechanism separating function and content information processing. We propose and discuss the hypothesis that subparts of Broca's area BA 44 and BA 45 would respectively be implicated in two different aspects of sentence comprehension: i) a general structure mapping capability and ii) the online integration of semantic representations onto structural constraints.
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Contributor : Michel Dojat <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - 5:56:15 PM
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Michel Hoen, Mathilde Pachot-Clouard, Christoph Segebarth, Peter Ford Dominey. When Broca experiences the Janus syndrome: an ER-fMRI study comparing sentence comprehension and cognitive sequence processing.. Cortex, Elsevier, 2006, 42 (4), pp.605-23. ⟨10.1016/S0010-9452(08)70398-8⟩. ⟨inserm-00388970⟩



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