Neuroimaging studies of sentence and discourse comprehension

Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky and Angela D. Friederici

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568971
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
Neuroimaging studies of sentence and discourse comprehension

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience



The neural implementation of language and, by extension, the postulated existence of particular “language centers” in the brain has exerted a continuing fascination upon scientists and non-scientists alike for thousands of years. With the advent of neuroimaging methods—and particularly of functional magnetic resonance imaging—during the last decade of the twentieth century, the possibilities of scientific inquiry within this domain have taken on a new dimension. First, neuroimaging techniques allow for a systematic and fine-grained probing of the functional neuroanatomy of language in healthy individuals. Moreover, they provide new avenues of exploration with respect to classical psycholinguistic questions in sentence comprehension, such as the modularity vs. interactivity debate. Neuroimaging studies of language comprehension are thus suited to provide further information not only about the neural substrate of language comprehension but also with respect to its internal organisation. In view of the fact that the overall neural networks subserving language comprehension have, by now, been documented in a large number of studies, this article considers only direct contrasts between language conditions.

Keywords: neuroimaging; sentence comprehension; language comprehension; neuroanatomy; language; neural networks; psycholinguistics

Article.  11336 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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