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Function of the left planum temporale in auditory and linguistic processing

J. R. Binder, J. A. Frost, T. A. Hammeke, S. M. Rao, R. W. Cox
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/119.4.1239 1239-1247 First published online: 1 August 1996


Summary Previous research suggests that the human left planum temporale (PT) plays an important role in language. To test this hypothesis, functional MRI (fMRI) data were collected from 12 normal right-handed subjects during passive and active listening to words and tone sequences. Several left hemisphere areas, including the superior temporal sulcus, middle temporal gyrus, angular gyrus and lateral frontal lobe showed stronger activation during the word conditions. This was not true of the PT, which responded equally to tones and words during passive listening and more strongly to tones during active listening. The PT is likely to be involved in early auditory processing, while specifically linguistic functions are mediated by multimodal association areas distributed elsewhere in the left hemisphere.

  • language
  • planum temporale
  • brain mapping
  • auditory cortex