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A unified neurocomputational bilateral model of spoken language production in healthy participants and recovery in poststroke aphasia.

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Understanding the processes underlying normal, impaired, and recovered language performance has been a long-standing goal for cognitive and clinical neuroscience. Many verbally described hypotheses about language lateralization and recovery have been generated. However, they have not been considered within a single, unified, and implemented computational framework, and the literatures on healthy participants and patients are largely separated. These investigations also span different types of data, including behavioral results and functional MRI brain activations, which augment the challenge for any unified theory. Consequently, many key issues, apparent contradictions, and puzzles remain to be solved. We developed a neurocomputational, bilateral pathway model of spoken language production, designed to provide a unified framework to simulate different types of data from healthy participants and aphasic patients. The model encapsulates key computational principles (differential computational capacity, emergent division of labor across pathways, experience-dependent plasticity-related recovery) and provides an explanation for the bilateral yet asymmetric lateralization of language in healthy participants, chronic aphasia after left rather than right hemisphere lesions, and the basis of partial recovery in patients. The model provides a formal basis for understanding the relationship between behavioral performance and brain activation. The unified model is consistent with the degeneracy and variable neurodisplacement theories of language recovery, and adds computational insights to these hypotheses regarding the neural machinery underlying language processing and plasticity-related recovery following damage.



bilateral language processing, language lateralization, language recovery, neurocomputational modeling, stroke aphasia, Aphasia, Functional Laterality, Healthy Volunteers, Humans, Language, Models, Neurological, Neuroimaging, Recovery of Function, Stroke

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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


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European Research Council (670428)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00005/18)