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Dissociable neural imprints of perception and grammar in auditory functional imaging

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Herrmann,  Björn
Methods and Development Unit MEG and EEG: Signal Analysis and Modelling , MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Obleser,  Jonas
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Research Group Auditory Cognition, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Kalberlah,  Christian
Max Planck Fellow Research Group Attention and Awareness, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Berlin, Germany;

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Haynes,  John-Dylan
Max Planck Fellow Research Group Attention and Awareness, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Berlin, Germany;
Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Friederici,  Angela D.
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Citation

Herrmann, B., Obleser, J., Kalberlah, C., Haynes, J.-D., & Friederici, A. D. (2012). Dissociable neural imprints of perception and grammar in auditory functional imaging. Human Brain Mapping, 33(3), 584-595. doi:10.1002/hbm.21235.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-5220-3
Abstract
In language processing, the relative contribution of early sensory and higher cognitive brain areas is still an open issue. A recent controversial hypothesis proposes that sensory cortices show sensitivity to syntactic processes, whereas other studies suggest a wider neural network outside sensory regions. The goal of the current event-related fMRI study is to clarify the contribution of sensory cortices in auditory syntactic processing in a 2 × 2 design. Two-word utterances were presented auditorily and varied both in perceptual markedness (presence or absence of an overt word category marking “-t”), and in grammaticality (syntactically correct or incorrect). A multivariate pattern classification approach was applied to the data, flanked by conventional cognitive subtraction analyses. The combination of methods and the 2 × 2 design revealed a clear picture: The cognitive subtraction analysis found initial syntactic processing signatures in a neural network including the left IFG, the left aSTG, the left superior temporal sulcus (STS), as well as the right STS/STG. Classification of local multivariate patterns indicated the left-hemispheric regions in IFG, aSTG, and STS to be more syntax-specific than the right-hemispheric regions. Importantly, auditory sensory cortices were only sensitive to the overt perceptual marking, but not to the grammaticality, speaking against syntax-inflicted sensory cortex modulations. Instead, our data provide clear evidence for a distinction between regions involved in pure perceptual processes and regions involved in initial syntactic processes.