Sentence processing selectivity in Broca's area: evident for structure but not syntactic movement

Corianne Reddy, Diogo Almeida, Jon Sprouse, Gregory Hickok

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The role of Broca’s area in sentence processing is hotly debated. Hypotheses include that Broca’s area supports sentence comprehension via syntax-specific processes, hierarchical structure building, or working memory. Here we adopt a within-subject functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) approach using sentence-level contrasts and non-sentential comparison tasks to address these hypotheses. Standard syntactic movement distance effects were replicated, but no difference was found between movement and non-movement sentences in Broca's area in the group or consistently in the individual subject analyses. Group and individual results both identify Broca's area subregions that are selective for sentence structure. Group, but not individual subject results, suggest shared resources for sentence processing and articulation in Broca's area. We conclude that Broca’s area is not selectively processing syntactic movement, but that subregions are selectively responsive to sentence structure. Our findings reinforce Fedorenko and Kanwishser's call for individual subject analyses in Broca's area, as group findings can obscure selective responses.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1326-1338
    Number of pages13
    JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
    Volume30
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Nov 26 2015

    Fingerprint

    Group
    Broca's Area
    Sentence Processing
    Syntactic Movement
    Broca Area
    Short-Term Memory
    syntax
    comprehension
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    resources
    Working Memory
    Sentence Comprehension
    Hierarchical Structure
    Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    Syntax
    Resources
    Articulation

    Keywords

    • Broca's area
    • fMRI
    • sentence processing
    • speech comprehension
    • syntax

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Linguistics and Language
    • Cognitive Neuroscience

    Cite this

    Sentence processing selectivity in Broca's area : evident for structure but not syntactic movement. / Reddy, Corianne; Almeida, Diogo; Sprouse, Jon; Hickok, Gregory.

    In: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, Vol. 30, No. 10, 26.11.2015, p. 1326-1338.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Reddy, Corianne ; Almeida, Diogo ; Sprouse, Jon ; Hickok, Gregory. / Sentence processing selectivity in Broca's area : evident for structure but not syntactic movement. In: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. 2015 ; Vol. 30, No. 10. pp. 1326-1338.
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