Impact of modality and linguistic complexity during reading and listening tasks

G. Jobard, M. Vigneau, B. Mazoyer, N. Tzourio-Mazoyer
NeuroImage. 2007-01-01; 34(2): 784-800
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.06.067

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1. Neuroimage. 2007 Jan 15;34(2):784-800. Epub 2006 Nov 15.

Impact of modality and linguistic complexity during reading and listening tasks.

Jobard G(1), Vigneau M, Mazoyer B, Tzourio-Mazoyer N.

Author information:
(1)Groupe d’Imagerie Neurofonctionnelle, UMR 6194, CNRS/CEA/Univ. Caen and Paris
5, France.

Reading and understanding speech are usually considered as different
manifestations of a single cognitive ability, that of language. In this study, we
were interested in characterizing the specific contributions of input modality
and linguistic complexity on the neural networks involved when subjects
understand language. We conducted an fMRI study during which 10 right-handed male
subjects had to read and listen to words, sentences and texts in different runs.
By comparing reading to listening tasks, we were able to show that the cerebral
regions specifically recruited by a given modality were circumscribed to unimodal
and associative unimodal cortices associated with the task, indicating that
higher cognitive processes required by the task may be common to both modalities.
Such cognitive processes involved a common phonological network as well as
lexico-semantic activations as revealed by the conjunction between all reading
and listening tasks. The restriction of modality-specific regions to their
corresponding unimodal cortices was replicated when looking at brain areas
showing a greater increase during the comprehension of more complex linguistic
units than words (such as sentences and texts) for each modality. Finally, we
discuss the possible roles of regions showing pure effect of linguistic
complexity, such as the anterior part of the superior temporal gyrus and the
ventro-posterior part of the middle temporal gyrus that were activated for
sentences and texts but not for isolated words, as well as a text-specific region
found in the left posterior STS.

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.06.067
PMID: 17110132 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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