Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of language.

Steven L. Small, Martha W. Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Functional neuroimaging of language builds on almost 150 years of study in neurology, psychology, linguistics, anatomy, and physiology. In recent years, there has been an explosion of research using functional imaging technology, especially positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to understand the relationship between brain mechanisms and language processing. These methods combine high-resolution anatomic images with measures of language-specific brain activity to reveal neural correlates of language processing. This article reviews some of what has been learned about the neuroanatomy of language from these imaging techniques. We first discuss the normal case, organizing the presentation according to the levels of language, encompassing words (lexicon), sound structure (phonemes), and sentences (syntax and semantics). Next, we delve into some unusual language processing circumstances, including second languages and sign languages. Finally, we discuss abnormal language processing, including developmental and acquired dyslexia and aphasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-510
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent neurology and neuroscience reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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