The cortical language circuit: from auditory perception to sentence comprehension

Trends Cogn Sci. 2012 May;16(5):262-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 Apr 18.


Over the years, a large body of work on the brain basis of language comprehension has accumulated, paving the way for the formulation of a comprehensive model. The model proposed here describes the functional neuroanatomy of the different processing steps from auditory perception to comprehension as located in different gray matter brain regions. It also specifies the information flow between these regions, taking into account white matter fiber tract connections. Bottom-up, input-driven processes proceeding from the auditory cortex to the anterior superior temporal cortex and from there to the prefrontal cortex, as well as top-down, controlled and predictive processes from the prefrontal cortex back to the temporal cortex are proposed to constitute the cortical language circuit.

MeSH terms

  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Comprehension*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiology