Poster A53, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
The involvement of left inferior frontal and posterior superior temporal gyri in processing Chinese relative clauses
Kun-Yu Xu1, Jeng-Ren Duann1, Denise Wu1; 1National Central University
Different from the consistent advantage of processing subject-relative clauses (SRCs) over object-relative clauses (ORCs) observed in most Indo-European languages, empirical evidence for processing Chinese RCs has been controversial. Consequently, even less studies have explored the neural correlates underlying such processing. Previous neuroimaging findings have associated the effects of syntactic complexity with several cortical sites including the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the superior temporal gyrus (STG). To examine the involvement of these regions in processing Chinese SRCs and ORCs, a mixed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study was conducted in which participants read sentences with the center-embedded structure and then made yes-no answers to probe questions about the sentences. The fMRI results showed that enhanced significantly higher activity within the left IFG (BA47) and the posterior STG whenever participants processed SRCs compared with ORCs. However, only in the STG, the brain activity was evidently correlated with the behavioral performance. The current findings further confirmed the role of the STG in integrating lexical-semantic and syntactic information during the sentence comprehension and, in terms of temporal sequence of activations, the STG might take action before the IFG when processing syntactically complex sentences.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Syntax