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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

November 2012, Vol. 24, No. 11, Pages 2211-2222
(doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00283)
© 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Please Get to the Point! A Cortical Correlate of Linguistic Informativeness
Article PDF (327.63 KB)

The production of informative messages is an effortful endeavor that relies on the interaction between microlinguistic (i.e., lexical and grammatical) and macrolinguistic (i.e., pragmatic and discourse) levels of processing. Although the neural correlates of microlinguistic processing have been extensively studied, investigation of the ability to organize the macrolinguistic aspects of message production is scanty. In this article, we show that repetitive TMS of the dorsal portion of the anterior left, but not right, inferior frontal gyrus reduces the levels of lexical informativeness and global coherence of narratives produced by healthy individuals. Interestingly, levels of productivity and microlinguistic processing were unaffected by the stimulation. These results suggest that the dorsal aspect of the anterior left inferior frontal gyrus is an epicenter of a wider neural network subserving the selection of contextually appropriate semantic representations.