Unimpaired sentence comprehension after anterior temporal cortex resection

K. H. Kho*, P. Indefrey, P. Hagoort, C. W.M. van Veelen, P. C. van Rijen, N. F. Ramsey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Functional imaging studies have demonstrated involvement of the anterior temporal cortex in sentence comprehension. It is unclear, however, whether the anterior temporal cortex is essential for this function. We studied two aspects of sentence comprehension, namely syntactic and prosodic comprehension in temporal lobe epilepsy patients who were candidates for resection of the anterior temporal lobe. Methods: Temporal lobe epilepsy patients (n = 32) with normal (left) language dominance were tested on syntactic and prosodic comprehension before and after removal of the anterior temporal cortex. The prosodic comprehension test was also compared with performance of healthy control subjects (n = 47) before surgery. Results: Overall, temporal lobe epilepsy patients did not differ from healthy controls in syntactic and prosodic comprehension before surgery. They did perform less well on an affective prosody task. Post-operative testing revealed that syntactic and prosodic comprehension did not change after removal of the anterior temporal cortex. Discussion: The unchanged performance on syntactic and prosodic comprehension after removal of the anterior temporal cortex suggests that this area is not indispensable for sentence comprehension functions in temporal epilepsy patients. Potential implications for the postulated role of the anterior temporal lobe in the healthy brain are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1170-1178
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Affective prosody
  • Anterior temporal cortex
  • Linguistic prosody
  • Prosody comprehension
  • Syntax comprehension

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