Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
The results of this magnetoencephalography study challenge two long-standing assumptions regarding the brain mechanisms of language processing: First, that linguistic processing proper follows sensory feature processing effected by bilateral activation of the primary sensory cortices that lasts about 100 msec from stimulus onset. Second, that subsequent linguistic processing is effected by left hemisphere networks outside the primary sensory areas, including Broca's and Wernicke's association cortices. Here we present evidence that linguistic analysis begins almost synchronously with sensory, prelinguistic verbal input analysis and that the primary cortices are also engaged in these linguistic analyses and become, consequently, part of the left hemisphere language network during language tasks. These findings call for extensive revision of our conception of linguistic processing in the brain.