Abstract Grammatical Processing of Nouns and Verbs in Broca's Area: Evidence from FMRI

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Abstract Grammatical Processing of Nouns and Verbs in Broca's Area: Evidence from FMRI

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dc.contributor.author Sahin, Ned T.
dc.contributor.author Pinker, Steven
dc.contributor.author Halgren, Eric
dc.date.accessioned 2009-03-08T22:29:50Z
dc.date.issued 2006
dc.identifier.citation Sahin, Ned T., Steven Pinker, and Eric Halgren. 2006. Abstract grammatical processing of nouns and verbs in Broca's Area: Evidence from FMRI. Cortex 42(4): 540-562. en
dc.identifier.issn 0010-9452 en
dc.identifier.uri http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:2643652
dc.description.abstract The role of Broca's area in grammatical computation is unclear, because syntactic processing is often confounded with working memory, articulation, or semantic selection. Morphological processing potentially circumvents these problems. Using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we had 18 subjects silently inflect words or read them verbatim. Subtracting the activity pattern for reading from that for inflection, which indexes processes involved in inflection (holding constant lexical processing and articulatory planning) highlighted left Brodmann area (BA) 44/45 (Broca's area), BA 47, anterior insula, and medial supplementary motor area. Subtracting activity during zero inflection (the hawk; they walk) from that during overt inflection (the hawks; they walked), which highlights manipulation of phonological content, implicated subsets of the regions engaged by inflection as a whole. Subtracting activity during verbatim reading from activity during zero inflection (which highlights the manipulation of inflectional features) implicated distinct regions of BA 44, 47, and a premotor region (thereby tying these regions to grammatical features), but failed to implicate the insula or BA 45 (thereby tying these to articulation). These patterns were largely similar in nouns and verbs and in regular and irregular forms, suggesting these regions implement inflectional features cutting across word classes. Greater activity was observed for irregular than regular verbs in the anterior cingulate and supplementary motor area (SMA), possibly reflecting the blocking of regular or competing irregular candidates. The results confirm a role for Broca's area in abstract grammatical processing, and are interpreted in terms of a network of regions in left prefrontal cortex (PFC) that are recruited for processing abstract morphosyntactic features and overt morphophonological content. en
dc.description.sponsorship Psychology en
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.publisher Elsevier en
dc.relation.isversionof http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0010-9452(08)70394-0 en
dc.relation.hasversion http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/index.html en
dash.license META_ONLY
dc.subject language production en
dc.subject speech production en
dc.subject morphology en
dc.subject morphosyntax en
dc.subject grammar en
dc.subject inflection en
dc.subject syntax en
dc.subject insula en
dc.title Abstract Grammatical Processing of Nouns and Verbs in Broca's Area: Evidence from FMRI en
dc.relation.journal Cortex en
dash.depositing.author Pinker, Steven
dash.embargo.until 10000-01-01

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [7218]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University

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