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Journal Article

Brain correlates of language learning: The neuronal dissociation of rule-based versus similarity-based learning

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

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Citation

Opitz, B., & Friederici, A. D. (2004). Brain correlates of language learning: The neuronal dissociation of rule-based versus similarity-based learning. The Journal of Neuroscience, 24(39), 8436-8440. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2220-04.2004.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-A226-9
Abstract
Language learning is one of the mysteries of human cognition. One of the crucial questions is the following: Does acquisition of grammatical knowledge depend primarily on abstract rules or on item-specific information? Although there is evidence that both mechanisms contribute to language acquisition, their relative importance during the process of language learning is unknown. Using an artificial grammar paradigm, we show by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging that the brain dissociates the two mechanisms: the left anterior hippocampus supports similarity-based learning, whereas the left ventral premotor cortex is selectively engaged by abstract rule processing. Moreover, data analysis over time on learning suggests that similarity-based learning plays a nonobligatory role during the initial phase, and that rule-based abstraction plays a crucial role during later learning.