Is Broca's area involved in the processing of passive sentences? An event-related fMRI study

Satoru Yokoyama, Jobu Watanabe, Kazuki Iwata, Naho Ikuta, Tomoki Haji, Nobuo Usui, Masato Taira, Tadao Miyamoto, Wataru Nakamura, Shigeru Sato, Kaoru Horie, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate whether activation in Broca's area is greater during the processing of passive versus active sentences in the brains of healthy subjects. Twenty Japanese native speakers performed a visual sentence comprehension task in which they were asked to read a visually presented sentence and to identify the agent or the patient in the sentence by pressing a button. We found that the processing of passive sentences elicited no greater activation than that of active sentences in Broca's area. However, passive sentences elicited greater activation than active sentences in the left frontal operculum and the inferior parietal lobule. Thus, our neuroimaging results suggest that deficits in the comprehension of passive sentences in Japanese aphasics are induced not by lesions to Broca's area, but to the left frontal operculum and/or the inferior parietal lobule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-996
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Broca's area
  • Frontal operculum
  • Passive sentence
  • Sentence comprehension
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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