Your verbal questions beginning with 'what' will rapidly deactivate the left prefrontal cortex of listeners

Hirotaka Iwaki, Masaki Sonoda, Shin ichiro Osawa, Brian H. Silverstein, Takumi Mitsuhashi, Kazushi Ukishiro, Yutaro Takayama, Toshimune Kambara, Kazuo Kakinuma, Kyoko Suzuki, Teiji Tominaga, Nobukazu Nakasato, Masaki Iwasaki, Eishi Asano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The left prefrontal cortex is essential for verbal communication. It remains uncertain at what timing, to what extent, and what type of phrase initiates left-hemispheric dominant prefrontal activation during comprehension of spoken sentences. We clarified this issue by measuring event-related high-gamma activity during a task to respond to three-phrase questions configured in different orders. Questions beginning with a wh-interrogative deactivated the left posterior prefrontal cortex right after the 1st phrase offset and the anterior prefrontal cortex after the 2nd phrase offset. Left prefrontal high-gamma activity augmented subsequently and maximized around the 3rd phrase offset. Conversely, questions starting with a concrete phrase deactivated the right orbitofrontal region and then activated the left posterior prefrontal cortex after the 1st phrase offset. Regardless of sentence types, high-gamma activity emerged earlier, by one phrase, in the left posterior prefrontal than anterior prefrontal region. Sentences beginning with a wh-interrogative may initially deactivate the left prefrontal cortex to prioritize the bottom-up processing of upcoming auditory information. A concrete phrase may obliterate the inhibitory function of the right orbitofrontal region and facilitate top-down lexical prediction by the left prefrontal cortex. The left anterior prefrontal regions may be recruited for semantic integration of multiple concrete phrases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5257
JournalScientific reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Your verbal questions beginning with 'what' will rapidly deactivate the left prefrontal cortex of listeners'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this