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Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Language Processing in the Brain: Challenges to Traditional Models.

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The study of language in the brain has a long and rich history. Traditional neuroanatomical models were inspired by Broca’s and Wernicke’s ground-breaking studies of aphasic patients whose specific impairments appeared to depend on the location of lesions around the left perisylvian fissure. These studies ...

The study of language in the brain has a long and rich history. Traditional neuroanatomical models were inspired by Broca’s and Wernicke’s ground-breaking studies of aphasic patients whose specific impairments appeared to depend on the location of lesions around the left perisylvian fissure. These studies led to the first models of brain circuits supporting language, which featured prominently until well into the twentieth century. Such lesion-based neuroanatomical models were often interpreted within modular architectures in which language was seen as relatively insulated from other neurocognitive operations. More recently, findings from studies using a variety of neuroimaging tools – neuroanatomy, event-related potentials, functional MRI and others – have forced us to re-examine these assumptions. In this Research Toic of Frontiers in Language Sciences we welcome original research and critical reviews that use neuroimaging techniques to explore several fundamental questions. To what degree does language processing rely on its own set of unique representations, processes and neural substrates? What is the role of regions outside the left perisylvian cortex? How do semantic and episodic memory, general executive, and general working memory contribute to language processing? And how quickly are these different types of representation and processes called into play as language unfolds in real time? We welcome papers that explore these questions at different levels of the language code – single words, sentences, and discourse. In this way, we aim to synthesize new perspectives and gain a more complete picture of the spatiotemporal dynamics of language processing in the brain.


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