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Journal Article

Functional neuroanatomy of language without speech: An ALE meta-analysis of sign language

MPS-Authors
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Trettenbrein,  Patrick
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
International Max Planck Research School on Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Papitto,  Giorgio
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
International Max Planck Research School on Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Friederici,  Angela
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Zaccarella,  Emiliano
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Fulltext (public)

hbm.25254.pdf
(Any fulltext), 4MB

Supplementary Material (public)

hbm25254-sup-0001-appendixs1.pdf
(Supplementary material), 14MB

Citation

Trettenbrein, P., Papitto, G., Friederici, A., & Zaccarella, E. (2021). Functional neuroanatomy of language without speech: An ALE meta-analysis of sign language. Human Brain Mapping, 42(3), 699-712. doi:10.1002/hbm.25254.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-32EE-5
Abstract
Sign language (SL) conveys linguistic information using gestures instead of sounds. Here, we apply a meta-analytic estimation approach to neuroimaging studies (N = 23; subjects = 316) and ask whether SL comprehension in deaf signers relies on the same primarily left-hemispheric cortical network implicated in spoken and written language (SWL) comprehension in hearing speakers. We show that: (1) SL recruits bilateral fronto-temporo-occipital regions with strong left-lateralization in the posterior inferior frontal gyrus known as Broca’s area, mirroring functional asymmetries observed for SWL. (2) Within this SL network, Broca’s area constitutes a hub which attributes abstract linguistic information to gestures. (3) SL-specific voxels in Broca’s area are also crucially involved in SWL, as confirmed by meta-analytic connectivity modeling using an independent large-scale neuroimaging database. This strongly suggests that the human brain evolved a lateralized language network with a supramodal hub in Broca’s area which computes linguistic information independent of speech.