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A dual-route account for access to grammatical gender: Evidence from functional MRI

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Heim,  Stefan
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Alter,  Kai
Max Planck Research Group Neurocognition of Prosody, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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

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Citation

Heim, S., Alter, K., & Friederici, A. D. (2005). A dual-route account for access to grammatical gender: Evidence from functional MRI. Anatomy and Embryology, 210(5-6), 473-483. doi:10.1007/s00429-005-0032-6.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-9B03-C
Abstract
Research investigating the neural correlates of grammatical gender processing has provided contradictory evidence with respect to activation in the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). A possible account for these discrepancies is a dual-route model proposing explicit vs implicit access to the gender information. In this event-related fMRI experiment, we investigated this issue by taking into account different processing strategies reported by the subjects. The participants performed two tasks, a gender judgement of German nouns and a non-lexical baseline task (spacing of consonant letter strings). Depending on the reported strategy (silent production of the definite determiner or direct access to the gender information), different patterns of activation in the left IFG were observed. Direct access to gender information yielded activation in the inferior tip of BA 44, whereas the verbalisation strategy elicited activation in the superior portion of BA 44, BA 45/47, and the fronto-median wall. These results speak in favour of a dual-route account for modelling the access to grammatical gender information during language comprehension.