A syntactic specialization for Broca's area

David Embick, Alec Marantz, Yasushi Miyashita, Wayne O'Neil, Kuniyoshi L. Sakai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite numerous aphasia and functional imaging studies, the exact correlation between cortical language areas and subcomponents of the linguistic system has not been established. Here, we used functional MRI to identify cortical areas specifically involved in syntactic processing. An experimental design contrasted sentences containing grammatical errors with sentences containing spelling errors. The ungrammatical sentences produced more activation in cortical language areas than did the sentences with spelling errors, and the difference in activation was significantly greater in Broca's area than in Wernicke's area or in the angular gyrus/supramarginal gyrus. The present findings provide direct evidence of a syntactic specialization for Broca's area and establish the existence of distinct modules for our knowledge of language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6150-6154
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 23 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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