Functional Network Dynamics of the Language System.

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TitleFunctional Network Dynamics of the Language System.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsChai, LR, Mattar, MG, Blank, IAsher, Fedorenko, E, Bassett, DS
JournalCereb Cortex
Date Published2016 10 17
KeywordsAdult, Brain, Comprehension, Female, Functional Laterality, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Language, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Models, Neurological, Neural Pathways, Nonlinear Dynamics, Oxygen, Young Adult

During linguistic processing, a set of brain regions on the lateral surfaces of the left frontal, temporal, and parietal cortices exhibit robust responses. These areas display highly correlated activity while a subject rests or performs a naturalistic language comprehension task, suggesting that they form an integrated functional system. Evidence suggests that this system is spatially and functionally distinct from other systems that support high-level cognition in humans. Yet, how different regions within this system might be recruited dynamically during task performance is not well understood. Here we use network methods, applied to fMRI data collected from 22 human subjects performing a language comprehension task, to reveal the dynamic nature of the language system. We observe the presence of a stable core of brain regions, predominantly located in the left hemisphere, that consistently coactivate with one another. We also observe the presence of a more flexible periphery of brain regions, predominantly located in the right hemisphere, that coactivate with different regions at different times. However, the language functional ROIs in the angular gyrus and the anterior temporal lobe were notable exceptions to this trend. By highlighting the temporal dimension of language processing, these results suggest a trade-off between a region's specialization and its capacity for flexible network reconfiguration.

Alternate JournalCereb. Cortex
PubMed ID27550868
PubMed Central IDPMC5066829