Functional anatomic models of language: Assembling the pieces

Dorit Ben Shalom, David Poeppel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the past few years, a series of influential review articles have summarized the state of the art with respect to cortical models of language organization. The present article is a mini-review and conceptual meta-analysis of several of the most prominent recent contributions. Based on the models, the authors extract some generalizations to arrive at a more robust model that 1) does justice to the range of neurological data, 2) is more connected to research in linguistics and psycholinguistics, and 3) stimulates hypothesis-driven research in this domain. In particular, the article attempts to unify a few of the current large-scale models of the functional neuroanatomy of language in a more principled manner. First, the authors argue that the relevant type of processing in a given cortical area, that is, memorizing (temporal cortex) versus analyzing (parietal) versus synthesizing (frontal), lies at the basis of local neuronal structure and function. Second, from an anatomic perspective, more dorsal regions within each of these (temporal, parietal, and frontal) systems specialize more in phonological processing, middle areas in syntactic processing, and more ventral areas in semantic processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Anatomy
  • Frontal
  • Language
  • Parietal
  • Temporal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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