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Brain Network Connectivity During Language Comprehension: Interacting Linguistic and Perceptual Subsystems.

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Fonteneau, Elisabeth 
Marslen-Wilson, William D 


The dynamic neural processes underlying spoken language comprehension require the real-time integration of general perceptual and specialized linguistic information. We recorded combined electro- and magnetoencephalographic measurements of participants listening to spoken words varying in perceptual and linguistic complexity. Combinatorial linguistic complexity processing was consistently localized to left perisylvian cortices, whereas competition-based perceptual complexity triggered distributed activity over both hemispheres. Functional connectivity showed that linguistically complex words engaged a distributed network of oscillations in the gamma band (20-60 Hz), which only partially overlapped with the network supporting perceptual analysis. Both processes enhanced cross-talk between left temporal regions and bilateral pars orbitalis (BA47). The left-lateralized synchrony between temporal regions and pars opercularis (BA44) was specific to the linguistically complex words, suggesting a specific role of left frontotemporal cross-cortical interactions in morphosyntactic computations. Synchronizations in oscillatory dynamics reveal the transient coupling of functional networks that support specific computational processes in language comprehension.



MEG, gamma oscillations, morphology, speech comprehension, Acoustic Stimulation, Adolescent, Adult, Cerebral Cortex, Comprehension, Cortical Synchronization, Electroencephalography, Functional Laterality, Gamma Rhythm, Humans, Linguistics, Magnetoencephalography, Nerve Net, Speech Perception, Young Adult

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Cereb Cortex

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Oxford University Press (OUP)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/F030061/1)
European Research Council (230570)
Medical Research Council (MC_U105580454)
This work was supported by an EPSRC grant to W.M.-W. (EP/F030061/1), an ERC Advanced Grant (Neurolex) to W.M.-W., and by MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (CBU) funding to W.M.-W. (U.1055.04.002.00001.01). Computing resources were provided by the MRC-CBU. Funding to pay the Open Access publication charges for this article was provided by the Advanced Investigator Grant (Neurolex) to W.D.M.-W.