Angela D. Friederici

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlín, Berlin, Germany

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Publications (628)2150.18 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Complex human behavior is hierarchically organized. Whether or not syntax plays a role in this organization is currently under debate. The present ERP study uses piano performance to isolate syntactic operations in action planning and to demonstrate their priority over nonsyntactic levels of movement selection. Expert pianists were asked to execute chord progressions on a mute keyboard by copying the posture of a performing model hand shown in sequences of photos. We manipulated the final chord of each sequence in terms of Syntax (congruent/incongruent keys) and Manner (conventional/unconventional fingering), as well as the strength of its predictability by varying the length of the Context (five-chord/two-chord progressions). The production of syntactically incongruent compared to congruent chords showed a response delay that was larger in the long compared to the short context. This behavioral effect was accompanied by a centroparietal negativity in the long but not in the short context, suggesting that a syntax-based motor plan was prepared ahead. Conversely, the execution of the unconventional manner was not delayed as a function of Context and elicited an opposite electrophysiological pattern (a posterior positivity). The current data support the hypothesis that motor plans operate at the level of musical syntax and are incrementally translated to lower levels of movement selection.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 09/2015; DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00873 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One main incentive for supplying hearing impaired children with a cochlear implant is the prospect of oral language acquisition. Only scarce knowledge exists, however, of what congenitally deaf children actually perceive, when receiving their first auditory input and specifically what speech-relevant features they are able to extract from the new modality. We therefore presented congenitally deaf infants and young children implanted before the age of 4 with an oddball paradigm of long and short vowel variants of the syllable /ba/. We measured the EEG in regular intervals to study their discriminative ability starting with the first activation of the implant up to 8 months later. We were thus able to time-track the emerging ability to differentiate one of the most basic linguistic features that bears semantic differentiation and helps in word segmentation and semantic discrimination, namely vowel length. Results show that already 2 months after the first auditory input, but not directly after implant activation, these early implanted children differentiate between long and short syllables. Surprisingly, after only 4 months of hearing experience, the ERPs have reached the same properties as those of the normal hearing control group, demonstrating the plasticity of the brain with respect to the new modality. We thus show that a simple but linguistically highly relevant feature such as vowel length reaches age-appropriate electrophysiological levels as fast as 4 months after the first acoustic stimulation, providing good ground for further language acquisition.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 09/2015; DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00868 · 4.09 Impact Factor
  • Yaqiong Xiao · Angela D. Friederici · Daniel S. Margulies · Jens Brauer
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    ABSTRACT: The development of language comprehension abilities in childhood is closely related to the maturation of the brain, especially the ability to process syntactically complex sentences. Recent studies proposed that the fronto-temporal connection within left perisylvian regions, supporting the processing of syntactically complex sentences, is still immature at preschool age. In the current study, resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired from typically developing 5-year-old children and adults to shed further light on the brain functional development. Children additionally performed a behavioral syntactic comprehension test outside the scanner. The amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations was analyzed in order to identify the functional correlation networks of language-relevant brain regions. Results showed an intrahemispheric correlation between left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and left posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) in adults, whereas an interhemispheric correlation between left IFG and its right-hemispheric homologue was predominant in children. Correlation analysis between resting-state functional connectivity and sentence processing performance in 5-year-olds revealed that local connectivity within the left IFG is associated with competence of processing syntactically simple canonical sentences, while long-range connectivity between IFG and pSTS in left hemisphere is associated with competence of processing syntactically relatively more complex non-canonical sentences. The present developmental data suggest that a selective left fronto-temporal connectivity network for processing complex syntax is already in functional connection at the age of 5 years when measured in a non-task situation. The correlational findings provide new insight into the relationship between intrinsic functional connectivity and syntactic language abilities in preschool children.
    Neuropsychologia 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.09.003 · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    Nicole E Neef · Alfred Anwander · Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroimaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation provide insights into the neuronal mechanisms underlying speech disfluencies in chronic persistent stuttering. In the present paper, the goal is not to provide an exhaustive review of existing literature, but rather to highlight robust findings. We, therefore, conducted a meta-analysis of diffusion tensor imaging studies which have recently implicated disrupted white matter connectivity in stuttering. A reduction of fractional anisotropy in persistent stuttering has been reported at several different loci. Our meta-analysis revealed consistent deficits in the left dorsal stream and in the interhemispheric connections between the sensorimotor cortices. In addition, recent fMRI meta-analyses link stuttering to reduced left fronto-parieto-temporal activation while greater fluency is associated with boosted co-activations of right fronto-parieto-temporal areas. However, the physiological foundation of these irregularities is not accessible with MRI. Complementary, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) reveals local excitatory and inhibitory regulation of cortical dynamics. Applied to a speech motor area, TMS revealed reduced speech-planning-related neuronal dynamics at the level of the primary motor cortex in stuttering. Together, this review provides a focused view of the neurobiology of stuttering to date and may guide the rational design of future research. This future needs to account for the perpetual dynamic interactions between auditory, somatosensory, and speech motor circuits that shape fluent speech.
    Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports 09/2015; 15(9):579. DOI:10.1007/s11910-015-0579-4 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Developmental dyslexia, a severe impairment of literacy acquisition, is known to have a neurological basis and a strong genetic background. However, effects of individual genetic variations on dyslexia-associated deficits are only moderate and call for the assessment of the genotype's impact on mediating neuro-endophenotypes by the imaging genetics approach. Using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) in German participants with and without dyslexia, we investigated gray matter changes and their association with impaired phonological processing, such as reduced verbal working memory. These endophenotypical alterations were, together with dyslexia-associated genetic variations, examined on their suitability as potential predictors of dyslexia. We identified two gray matter clusters in the left posterior temporal cortex related to verbal working memory capacity. Regional cluster differences correlated with genetic risk variants in TNFRSF1B. High-genetic-risk participants exhibit a structural predominance of auditory-association areas relative to auditory-sensory areas, which may partly compensate for deficient early auditory-sensory processing stages of verbal working memory. The reverse regional predominance observed in low-genetic-risk participants may in turn reflect reliance on these early auditory-sensory processing stages. Logistic regression analysis further supported that regional gray matter differences and genetic risk interact in the prediction of individuals' diagnostic status: With increasing genetic risk, the working-memory related structural predominance of auditory-association areas relative to auditory-sensory areas classifies participants with dyslexia versus control participants. Focusing on phonological deficits in dyslexia, our findings suggest endophenotypical changes in the left posterior temporal cortex could comprise novel pathomechanisms for verbal working memory-related processes translating TNFRSF1B genotype into the dyslexia phenotype.
    Cortex 07/2015; 71:291-305. DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2015.06.029 · 5.13 Impact Factor
  • Lars Meyer · Maren Grigutsch · Noura Schmuck · Phoebe Gaston · Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Successful working-memory retrieval requires that items be retained as distinct units. At the neural level, it has been shown that theta-band oscillatory power increases with the number of to-be-distinguished items during working-memory retrieval. Here we hypothesized that during sentence comprehension, verbal-working-memory retrieval demands lead to increased theta power over frontal cortex, supposedly supporting the distinction amongst stored items during verbal-working-memory retrieval. Also, synchronicity may increase between the frontal cortex and the posterior cortex, with the latter supposedly supporting item retention. We operationalized retrieval by using pronouns, which refer to and trigger the retrieval of antecedent nouns from a preceding sentence part. Retrieval demand was systematically varied by changing the pronoun antecedent: Either, it was non-embedded in the preceding main clause, and thus easy-to-retrieve across a single clause boundary, or embedded in the preceding subordinate clause, and thus hard-to-retrieve across a double clause boundary. We combined electroencephalography (EEG), scalp-level time-frequency analysis, source localization, and source-level coherence analysis, observing a frontal-midline and broad left-hemispheric theta-power increase for embedded-antecedent compared to non-embedded-antecedent retrieval. Sources were localized to left-frontal, left-parietal, and bilateral-inferior-temporal cortices. Coherence analyses suggested synchronicity between left-frontal and left-parietal and between left-frontal and right-inferior-temporal cortices. Activity of an array of left-frontal, left-parietal, and bilateral-inferior-temporal cortices may thus assist retrieval during sentence comprehension, potentially indexing the orchestration of item distinction, verbal working memory, and long-term memory. Our results extend prior findings by mapping prior knowledge on the functional role of theta oscillations onto processes genuine to human sentence comprehension. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Cortex 07/2015; 71:205-218. DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2015.06.027 · 5.13 Impact Factor
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    Michael A Skeide · Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: In a recent Opinion article, Bornkessel-Schlesewsky et al. [1] make the interesting proposal that the basic computational mechanisms necessary for language processing are implemented in the nonhuman primate brain. According to the authors, neural differences between human and nonhu-man primates are quantitative but not qualitative in nature. Both species share a ventral stream underlying auditory object recognition and combination, and a dorsal stream underlying sequence processing. The cross-stream interaction is assumed to be crucial for human language to emerge. The observed cross-species differences in language are based on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) that allows the integration of information from both streams only in humans. We agree with Bornkessel-Schlesewsky et al. that language , in common with other cognitive functions, is grounded on basic physiological principles [2]. We furthermore acknowledge that the nonhuman primate prefrontal cortex supports symbolic manipulation abilities that can be seen as precursors to the syntactically guided structuring of signs in humans [3]. However, we emphasize that some important data not discussed by Bornkessel-Schlesewsky et al. strongly support the view that there are clear qualitative , and not merely quantitative, differences between the species with respect to both the intrinsic functional connectivity of frontal and temporal cortices, and their direct structural connection via a dorsal white matter fiber tract. Moreover, we should point out that the exact nature of the claimed interaction between streams postulated by the authors awaits specification at both the functional and structural levels, and remains to be proven empirically.
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences 06/2015; 19(9). DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2015.05.011 · 21.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phonological awareness is the best-validated predictor of reading and spelling skill and therefore highly relevant for developmental dyslexia. Prior imaging genetics studies link several dyslexia risk genes to either brain-functional or brain-structural factors of phonological deficits. However, coherent evidence for genetic associations with both functional and structural neural phenotypes underlying variation in phonological awareness has not yet been provided. Here we demonstrate that rs11100040, a reported modifier of SLC2A3, is related to the functional connectivity of left fronto-temporal phonological processing areas at resting state in a sample of 9- to 12-year-old children. Furthermore, we provide evidence that rs11100040 is related to the fractional anisotropy of the arcuate fasciculus, which forms the structural connection between these areas. This structural connectivity phenotype is associated with phonological awareness, which is in turn associated with the individual retrospective risk scores in an early dyslexia screening as well as to spelling. These results suggest a link between a dyslexia risk genotype and a functional as well as a structural neural phenotype, which is associated with a phonological awareness phenotype. The present study goes beyond previous work by integrating genetic, brain-functional and brain-structural aspects of phonological awareness within a single approach. These combined findings might be another step towards a multimodal biomarker for developmental dyslexia. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 06/2015; 118. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.06.024 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    Andrea Santi · Angela D Friederici · Michiru Makuuchi · Yosef Grodzinsky
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    ABSTRACT: Behavioral studies of sentence comprehension suggest that processing long-distance dependencies is subject to interference effects when Noun Phrases (NP) similar to the dependency head intervene in the dependency. Neuroimaging studies converge in localizing such effects to Broca's area, showing that activity in Broca's area increases with the number of NP interveners crossed by a moved NP of the same type. To test if NP interference effects are modulated by adding an intervening clause boundary, which should by hypothesis increase the number of successive-cyclic movements, we conducted an fMRI study contrasting NP interveners with clausal (CP) interveners. Our design thus had two components: (I) the number of NP interveners crossed by movement was parametrically modulated; (II) CP-intervention was contrasted with NP-intervention. The number of NP interveners parametrically modulated a cluster straddling left BA44/45 of Broca's area, replicating earlier studies. Adding an intervening clause boundary did not significantly modulate the size of the NP interference effect in Broca's area. Yet, such an interaction effect was observed in the Superior Frontal Gyrus (SFG). Therefore, the involvement of Broca's area in processing syntactic movement is best captured by memory mechanisms affected by a grammatically instantiated type-identity (i.e., NP) intervention.
    Frontiers in Psychology 05/2015; 6:654. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00654 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DOWNLOAD FULL-TEXT: It is widely agreed upon that linguistic predictions are an integral part of language comprehension. Yet, experimental proof of their existence remains challenging. Here, we introduce a new predictive eye gaze reading task combining eye tracking and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that allows us to infer the existence and timing of linguistic predictions via anticipatory eye-movements. Participants read different types of word sequences (i.e., regular sentences, meaningless jabberwocky sentences, non-word lists) up to the pre-final word. The final target word was displayed with a temporal delay and its screen position was dependent on the syntactic word category (nouns vs verbs). During the delay, anticipatory eye-movements into the correct target word area were indicative of linguistic predictions. For fMRI analysis, the predictive sentence conditions were contrasted to the non-word condition, with the anticipatory eye-movements specifying differences in timing across conditions. A conjunction analysis of both sentence conditions revealed the neural substrate of word category prediction, namely a distributed network of cortical and subcortical brain regions including language systems, basal ganglia, thalamus, and hippocampus. Direct contrasts between the regular sentence condition and the jabberwocky condition indicate that prediction of word category in meaningless jabberwocky sentences relies on classical left-hemispheric language systems involving Brodman's area 44/45 in the left inferior frontal gyrus, left superior temporal areas, and the dorsal caudate nucleus. Regular sentences, in contrast, allowed for the prediction of specific words. Word-specific predictions were specifically associated with more widely distributed temporal and parietal cortical systems, most prominently in the right hemisphere. Our results support the presence of linguistic predictions during sentence processing and demonstrate the validity of the predictive eye gaze paradigm for measuring syntactic and semantic aspects of linguistic predictions, as well as for investigating their neural substrates. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Cortex 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2015.04.011 · 5.13 Impact Factor
  • Angela D Friederici · Wolf Singer
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    ABSTRACT: In animal models the neural basis of cognitive and executive processes has been studied extensively at various hierarchical levels from microcircuits to distributed functional networks. This work already provides compelling evidence that diverse cognitive functions are based on similar basic neuronal mechanisms. More recent data suggest that even cognitive functions realized only in human brains rely on these canonical neuronal mechanisms. Here we argue that language, like other cognitive functions, depends on distributed computations in specialized cortical areas forming large-scale dynamic networks and examine to what extent empirical results support this view. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences 04/2015; 19(6). DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2015.03.012 · 21.97 Impact Factor
  • Tomás Goucha · Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Broca's area is proposed as a crucial brain area for linguistic computations. Language processing goes beyond word-level processing, also implying the integration of meaningful information (semantics) with the underlying structural skeleton (syntax). There is an on-going debate about the specialisation of the subregions of Broca's area-Brodmann areas (BA) 44 and 45-regarding the latter aspects. Here, we tested if syntactic information is specifically processed in BA 44, whereas BA 45 is mainly recruited for semantic processing. We contrasted conditions with sentence structure against conditions with random order in two fMRI experiments. Besides, in order to disentangle these processes, we systematically removed the amount of semantic information available in stimuli. This was achieved in Experiment 1 by replacing meaningful words (content words) by pseudowords. Within real words conditions we found broad activation in the left hemisphere, including the inferior frontal gyrus (BA 44/45/47), the anterior temporal lobe and posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG) and sulcus (pSTS). For pseudowords we found a similar activation pattern, still involving BA 45. Among the pseudowords in Experiment 1, we kept those word elements that convey meaning like un- in unhappy or -hood in brotherhood (i.e. derivational morphology). In Experiment 2 we tested whether the activation in BA 45 was due to their presence. We therefore further removed derivational morphology, only leaving word elements that determine syntactic structure (i.e. inflectional morphology, e.g. the verb ending -s in he paints). Now, in the absence of all semantic cues, including derivational morphology, only BA 44 was active. Additional analyses showed a selective responsiveness of this area to syntax-relevant cues. These findings confirm BA 44 as a core area for the processing of pure syntactic information. This furthermore suggests that the brain represents structural and meaningful aspects of language separately. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 04/2015; 114. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.04.011 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    Hyeon-Ae Jeon · Angela D. Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC), with more anterior areas [Brodmann area (BA) 45, 47, and 10], has been known to be activated as cognitive hierarchy increases. However, this does not hold for highly automatic processes such as first language (L1), where the posterior region (BA 44) is known as the key area for the processing of complex linguistic hierarchy. Discussing this disparity, we propose that the degree of automaticity (DoA) is a crucial factor for the framework of functional mapping in the PFC: the posterior-to-anterior gradient system for more controlled processes and the posterior-confined system for automatic processes. We support this view with previous findings and provide a new perspective on the functional organization of the PFC. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences 04/2015; 19(5). DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2015.03.003 · 21.97 Impact Factor
  • Emiliano Zaccarella · Angela D. Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Knowledge about the neuroanatomy of the human brain has exponentially grown in the last decades leading to finer-grained sub-regional parcellations. The goal of this functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study was to specify the involvement of the insula during visual word processing using a sub-regional parcellation approach. Specifically, we assessed: (1) the number of active voxels falling in each sub-insular cluster; (2) the signal intensity difference between word and letter strings within clusters; (3) the subject-specific cluster selectivity; (4) the lateralization between left and right clusters. We found that word compared to letter string processing was strongly sub-regional sensitive within the anterior-dorsal cluster only, and was left-lateralized. Interestingly, this sensitivity held at both group level and individual level. This study demonstrates that integrating hemodynamic activity with sub-topographic architecture can generate an enriched understanding of sub-regional functional specializations in the human brain.
    Brain and Language 03/2015; 142. DOI:10.1016/j.bandl.2014.12.006 · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    Michael A Skeide · Jens Brauer · Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: The relation between brain function and behavior on the one hand and the relation between structural changes and behavior on the other as well as the link between the 2 aspects are core issues in cognitive neuroscience. It is an open question, however, whether brain function or brain structure is the better predictor for age-specific cognitive performance. Here, in a comprehensive set of analyses, we investigated the direct relation between hemodynamic activity in 2 pairs of frontal and temporal cortical areas, 2 long-distance white matter fiber tracts connecting each pair and sentence comprehension performance of 4 age groups, including 3 groups of children between 3 and 10 years as well as young adults. We show that the increasing accuracy of processing complex sentences throughout development is correlated with the blood-oxygen-level-dependent activation of 2 core language processing regions in Broca's area and the posterior portion of the superior temporal gyrus. Moreover, both accuracy and speed of processing are correlated with the maturational status of the arcuate fasciculus, that is, the dorsal white matter fiber bundle connecting these 2 regions. The present data provide compelling evidence for the view that brain function and white matter structure together best predict developing cognitive performance. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:
    Cerebral Cortex 03/2015; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhv042 · 8.67 Impact Factor
  • Yaqiong Xiao · Hongchang Zhai · Angela D Friederici · Fucang Jia
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, research on human functional brain imaging using resting-state fMRI techniques has been increasingly prevalent. The term "default mode" was proposed to describe a baseline or default state of the brain during rest. Recent studies suggested that the default mode network (DMN) is comprised of two functionally distinct subsystems: a dorsal-medial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC) subsystem involved in self-oriented cognition (i.e., theory of mind) and a medial temporal lobe (MTL) subsystem engaged in memory and scene construction; both subsystems interact with the anterior medial prefrontal cortex (aMPFC) and posterior cingulate (PCC) as the core regions of DMN. The present study explored the development of DMN core regions and these two subsystems in both hemispheres from 3- to 5-year-old children. The analysis of the intrinsic activity showed strong developmental changes in both subsystems, and significant changes were specifically found in MTL subsystem, but not in DMPFC subsystem, implying distinct developmental trajectories for DMN subsystems. We found stronger interactions between the DMPFC and MTL subsystems in 5-year-olds, particularly in the left subsystems that support the development of environmental adaptation and relatively complex mental activities. These results also indicate that there is stronger right hemispheric lateralization at age 3, which then changes as bilateral development gradually increases through to age 5, suggesting in turn the hemispheric dominance in DMN subsystems changing with age. The present results provide primary evidence for the development of DMN subsystems in early life, which might be closely related to the development of social cognition in childhood.
    Brain Imaging and Behavior 03/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11682-015-9362-z · 4.60 Impact Factor
  • Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: The language-relevant brain regions, Brodmann's area in the inferior frontal cortex and Wernicke's area in the superior temporal cortex, are connected via long-range fiber bundles, which are located dorsally and ventrally to the sylvian fissure. These dorsal and ventral pathways consist of a number of partly parallel-running fiber tracts, which can be differentiated by their termination regions and by the particular language functions of these termination regions. Dorsally, there are two major fiber tracts connecting the posterior temporal cortex with the frontal cortex: one terminating in the premotor cortex that subserves sensory-to-motor mapping and one terminating in posterior Broca's area, the pars opercularis, that supports the processing of complex syntactic structures. Ventrally, two language-related fiber tracts are discussed: one connects the inferior frontal cortex, i.e., the pars triangularis and orbitalis, with Wernicke's area and supports semantic processes and another one connects the most ventral portions of the inferior frontal cortex, including the frontal operculum, with the anterior temporal cortex. This latter ventral tract is suggested to subserve elementary combinatorial processes in language. Together these fiber tracts guarantee the transmission of information between different brain regions within the neural language network. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Handbook of Clinical Neurology 03/2015; 129C:177-186. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-444-62630-1.00010-X
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    Brain 02/2015; DOI:10.1093/brain/awv036 · 9.20 Impact Factor
  • Emiliano Zaccarella · Angela D. Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Syntax determines how words are grouped together to form phrases and sentences. Two frontotemporal syntactic networks, which connect the classical language regions in the left hemisphere, that is, Broca's and Wernicke's areas, can be described. One network involves the ventral inferior frontal cortex and the anterior temporal cortex connected via ventrally located fiber bundles and appears to support local phrase structure building. The other network involves posterior Broca's area and the posterior temporal cortex connected via dorsally located fiber bundles and subserves the processing of syntactically complex structures. Thus, syntax is reflected in two neuroanatomical networks with different functional roles.
    Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference, Edited by Arthur W. Toga, 02/2015: pages 461-468; Elsevier., ISBN: 978-0-12-397025-1
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    Manuela Friedrich · Ines Wilhelm · Jan Born · Angela D Friederici
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    ABSTRACT: Sleep consolidates memory and promotes generalization in adults, but it is still unknown to what extent the rapidly growing infant memory benefits from sleep. Here we show that during sleep the infant brain reorganizes recent memories and creates semantic knowledge from individual episodic experiences. Infants aged between 9 and 16 months were given the opportunity to encode both objects as specific word meanings and categories as general word meanings. Event-related potentials indicate that, initially, infants acquire only the specific but not the general word meanings. About 1.5 h later, infants who napped during the retention period, but not infants who stayed awake, remember the specific word meanings and, moreover, successfully generalize words to novel category exemplars. Independently of age, the semantic generalization effect is correlated with sleep spindle activity during the nap, suggesting that sleep spindles are involved in infant sleep-dependent brain plasticity.
    Nature Communications 01/2015; 6:6004. DOI:10.1038/ncomms7004 · 11.47 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

25k Citations
2,150.18 Total Impact Points


  • 2012–2015
    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1995–2015
    • Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
      • • Department of Neuropsychology
      • • Department of Neurophysics
      Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
  • 2010
    • Stanford University
      • Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
      Palo Alto, California, United States
  • 2009
    • Central Institute of Mental Health
      Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2007
    • University of Zurich
      • Division of Neuropsychology
      Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
    • Universität des Saarlandes
      Saarbrücken, Saarland, Germany
  • 2006
    • Forschungszentrum Jülich
      • Institut für Neurowissenschaften und Medizin (INM)
      Düren, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2005
    • Bangor University
      Bangon, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 2003–2004
    • Philipps University of Marburg
      • Institute for German Linguistics
      Marburg, Hesse, Germany
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Neurology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Georgetown University
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 2000
    • Universität Potsdam
      • Department Linguistik
      Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany
  • 1997–2000
    • University of Leipzig
      • Institute of Psychology
      Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
    • Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1997–1999
    • Max Planck Society
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 1998
    • Radboud University Nijmegen
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 1990–1995
    • Freie Universität Berlin
      • Institute of Psychology
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1981–1990
    • Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
    • Boston University
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1988
    • Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
      Gieben, Hesse, Germany
  • 1980
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States