Right-hemispheric cortical contributions to language ability in healthy adults

Brain Lang. 2012 Mar;120(3):395-400. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2011.10.002. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


In this study we investigated the correlation between individual linguistic ability based on performance levels and their engagement of typical and atypical language areas in the brain. Eighteen healthy subjects between 21 and 64 years participated in language ability tests, and subsequent functional MRI scans measuring brain activity in response to a sentence completion and a word fluency task. Performance in both reading and high-level language tests correlated positively with increased right-hemispheric activation in the inferior frontal gyrus (specifically Brodmann area 47), the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and the medial temporal gyrus (Brodmann area 21). In contrast, we found a negative correlation between performance and left-hemispheric DLPFC activation. Our findings indicate that the right lateral frontal and right temporal regions positively modulate aspects of language ability.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Linguistics*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reading*
  • Reference Values
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Young Adult