Localizing components of a complex task: sentence processing and working memory
THREE areas of the left hemisphere play different roles in sentence comprehension. An area of posterior middle and superior temporal gyrus shows activation correlated with the structural complexity of a sentence, suggesting that this area supports processing of sentence structure. The lateral anterior temporal gyrus is more activated bilaterally by all sentence conditions than by word lists; thus the function of the area probably does not directly support processing of structure but rather processing of words specific to a sentence context. Left inferior frontal cortex also shows activation related to sentence complexity but is also more activated in word list processing than in simple sentences; this region may thus support a form of verbal working memory which maintains sentence structural information as well as lexical items.