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Shared language: Overlap and segregation of the neuronal infrastructure for speaking and listening revealed by functional MRI

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Gierhan,  Sarah M. E.
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Nijmegen, the Netherlands;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands;

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Citation

Menenti, L., Gierhan, S. M. E., Segaert, K., & Hagoort, P. (2011). Shared language: Overlap and segregation of the neuronal infrastructure for speaking and listening revealed by functional MRI. Psychological Science, 22(9), 1173-1182. doi:10.1177/0956797611418347.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-0C12-E
Abstract
The involvement of the brain's speech production system in speech comprehension is the topic of much debate. While research focuses on whether motor areas are involved in listening or not, overlap could occur not only for primary sensory and motor processes, but also at linguistic levels (semantic, lexical and syntactic processes). Using fMRI adaptation in speech comprehension and production, we found that the brain areas involved in semantic, lexical, and syntactic processing are mostly the same for speaking and listening. Effects of primary processing load (indicative of sensory and motor processes) overlap in auditory cortex, and in left inferior frontal cortex, but not in motor cortex, where processing load affects the response only in speaking. These results indicate that the linguistic parts of the language system are used for both speaking and listening, but that the motor system does not seem to provide a crucial contribution to listening.