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Language in Our BrainThe Origins of a Uniquely Human Capacity$
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Angela D. Friederici

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036924

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036924.001.0001

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The Functional Language Network

The Functional Language Network

(p.121) 4 The Functional Language Network
Language in Our Brain

Angela D. Friederici

Noam Chomsky

The MIT Press

How information content is encoded and decoded in the sending and receiving brain areas is still an open issue. A possible though speculative view is that encoding and decoding requires similarity at the neuronal level in the encoding and decoding regions. This chapter discusses the functional neural network of language. It first describes the language network at the neurotransmitter level and then discusses the available data at the level of functional connectivity and oscillatory activity. Section 1 looks at the neural basis of information transfer, namely at the neurotransmitters which are crucially involved in the transmission of information from one neuron to the next. Section 2 uses functional connectivity analyses to provide information about how different brain regions work together. They allow us to make statements about which regions work together, and moreover, about the direction of the information flow between these. Section 3 models the language circuit as a a dynamic temporo-frontal network with initial input-driven information processed bottom-up from the auditory cortex to the frontal cortex along the ventral pathway, with semantic information reaching the anterior inferior frontal gyrus, and syntactic information reaching the posterior inferior frontal gyrus.

Keywords:   functional connection, structural connection, information flow, neural circuits, language circuit

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