Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Meta-Analysis
. 2008 May;29(5):581-93.
doi: 10.1002/hbm.20422.

The Extended Language Network: A Meta-Analysis of Neuroimaging Studies on Text Comprehension

Affiliations
Free PMC article
Meta-Analysis

The Extended Language Network: A Meta-Analysis of Neuroimaging Studies on Text Comprehension

Evelyn C Ferstl et al. Hum Brain Mapp. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Language processing in context requires more than merely comprehending words and sentences. Important subprocesses are inferences for bridging successive utterances, the use of background knowledge and discourse context, and pragmatic interpretations. The functional neuroanatomy of these text comprehension processes has only recently been investigated. Although there is evidence for right-hemisphere contributions, reviews have implicated the left lateral prefrontal cortex, left temporal regions beyond Wernicke's area, and the left dorso-medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) for text comprehension. To objectively confirm this extended language network and to evaluate the respective contribution of right hemisphere regions, meta-analyses of 23 neuroimaging studies are reported here. The analyses used replicator dynamics based on activation likelihood estimates. Independent of the baseline, the anterior temporal lobes (aTL) were active bilaterally. In addition, processing of coherent compared with incoherent text engaged the dmPFC and the posterior cingulate cortex. Right hemisphere activations were seen most notably in the analysis of contrasts testing specific subprocesses, such as metaphor comprehension. These results suggest task dependent contributions for the lateral PFC and the right hemisphere. Most importantly, they confirm the role of the aTL and the fronto-medial cortex for language processing in context.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Results of the meta-analysis of language processing in context against a resting baseline, based on the contrasts listed in Table I. The labels of the regions correspond to those provided in Table V.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Results of the meta-analysis of language processing in context against a nonlanguage baseline, based on the contrasts listed in Table II. The labels of the regions correspond to those provided in Table VI.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Results of the meta-analysis of comprehending coherent language compared with incoherent language. This analysis is based on the contrasts listed in Table III. The labels of the regions correspond to those provided in Table VII.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Results of the meta-analysis for special processes of text comprehension, based on the contrasts listed in Table IV. The labels of the regions correspond to those provided in Table VIII.
Figure 5
Figure 5
The spatial overlap of the ALE clusters from the three comparisons: Rest, Language, and Coherence. Only one voxel in the left aTL was contained in all three networks (marked in red: x = −47, y = −12, −15). The neighboring regions were common to two comparisons (green: Rest and Language, yellow: Language and Coherence).

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 122 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

Feedback