Supramodal Language Comprehension: Role of the Left Temporal Lobe for Listening and Reading

Neuropsychologia. 2007 Jun 11;45(10):2407-15. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2007.02.008. Epub 2007 Feb 20.


In this fMRI study, we aimed at identifying the cortical areas engaged in supramodal processing of language comprehension. BOLD changes were recorded in 19 healthy right-handed subjects reading or listening to a story. During the visual control tasks the volunteers attended to a series of continuous letterstrings or a fixation cross, while during the acoustic control tasks either a reversed text or white noise were presented. The conjunction of the visual and acoustic story processing yielded left-dominant activations which in comparison to language-like stimuli focused to the left middle temporal gyrus as well as to the supramarginal gyrus. We conclude that the core structure representing supramodal language comprehension is the left temporal lobe at both banks of the superior temporal sulcus.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Comprehension / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reading*
  • Temporal Lobe / blood supply
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*


  • Oxygen