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Higher Language Ability is Related to Angular Gyrus Activation Increase During Semantic Processing, Independent of Sentence Incongruency
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Radiological Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3587-3568
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Neuro and Inflammation Science. Region Östergötland, Anaesthetics, Operations and Specialty Surgery Center, Department of Otorhinolaryngology in Linköping. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Karolinska Institute, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2208-0630
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Radiological Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Center for Surgery, Orthopaedics and Cancer Treatment, Department of Radiation Physics. Linköping University, Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8661-2232
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
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2016 (English)In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5161, E-ISSN 1662-5161, Vol. 10, no 110Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the relation between individual language ability and neural semantic processing abilities. Our aim was to explore whether high-level language ability would correlate to decreased activation in language-specific regions or rather increased activation in supporting language regions during processing of sentences. Moreover, we were interested if observed neural activation patterns are modulated by semantic incongruency similarly to previously observed changes upon syntactic congruency modulation. We investigated 27 healthy adults with a sentence reading task which tapped language comprehension and inference, and modulated sentence congruency employing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We assessed the relation between neural activation, congruency modulation, and test performance on a high-level language ability assessment with multiple regression analysis. Our results showed increased activation in the left-hemispheric angular gyrus extending to the temporal lobe related to high language ability. This effect was independent of semantic congruency, and no significant relation between language ability and incongruency modulation was observed. Furthermore, there was a significant increase of activation in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) bilaterally when the sentences were incongruent, indicating that processing incongruent sentences was more demanding than processing congruent sentences and required increased activation in language regions. The correlation of high-level language ability with increased rather than decreased activation in the left angular gyrus, a region specific for language processing, is opposed to what the neural efficiency hypothesis would predict. We can conclude that no evidence is found for an interaction between semantic congruency related brain activation and highlevel language performance, even though the semantic incongruent condition shows to be more demanding and evoking more neural activation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
FRONTIERS MEDIA SA , 2016. Vol. 10, no 110
Keyword [en]
fMRI; semantic processing; congruency; sentence reading; language ability; inferior frontal gyrus; angular gyrus
National Category
Clinical Medicine Basic Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126805DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00110ISI: 000371873000001PubMedID: 27014040OAI: diva2:917726

Funding Agencies|Linkoping University; Linkoping University Hospital local funds

Available from: 2016-04-07 Created: 2016-04-05 Last updated: 2016-05-11

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Van Ettinger-Veenstra, HeleneMcallister, AnitaLundberg, PeterKarlsson, ThomasEngström, Maria
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Division of Radiological SciencesFaculty of Medicine and Health SciencesCenter for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV)Division of Neuro and Inflammation ScienceDepartment of Otorhinolaryngology in LinköpingDepartment of Radiation PhysicsDisability ResearchFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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