Differential components of sentence comprehension: Beyond single word reading and memory

L. E. Cutting, A. M. Clements, S. Courtney, S. L. Rimrodt, J. G.B. Schafer, J. Bisesi, J. J. Pekar, K. R. Pugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A number of studies have used functional neuroimaging to examine the neural mechanisms of sentence comprehension; however, few fMRI studies have examined activation patterns associated with sentence comprehension after accounting for activation attributable to single-word-level tasks important for sentence comprehension. To investigate the patterns of activation associated with sentence comprehension after controlling for single word reading and maintaining single words in memory, 20 unimpaired adult readers completed a block design paradigm which included sentence comprehension, single word reading, and short-term memory (for words) tasks. Results indicated that, regardless of the aspect of sentence comprehension being controlled for, activation was observed in bilateral temporal lobes (left > right) as well as bilateral occipital lobes and middle frontal gyri. Additional findings showed that bilateral superior parietal lobe activation was greatest for short-term memory for words, while left anterior inferior frontal gyri activation (centered around Brodmann's area 47) was greatest for single word reading. Results suggest that temporal cortex (left > right) is a core region important for sentence comprehension beyond the short-term memory and semantic requirements inherent in processing sentences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-438
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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