Neural organization of spoken language revealed by lesion–symptom mapping

Daniel Mirman*, Qi Chen, Yongsheng Zhang, Ze Wang, Olufunsho K. Faseyitan, H. Branch Coslett, Myrna F. Schwartz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies of patients with acquired cognitive deficits following brain damage and studies using contemporary neuroimaging techniques form two distinct streams of research on the neural basis of cognition. In this study, we combine high-quality structural neuroimaging analysis techniques and extensive behavioural assessment of patients with persistent acquired language deficits to study the neural basis of language. Our results reveal two major divisions within the language system—meaning versus form and recognition versus production—and their instantiation in the brain. Phonological form deficits are associated with lesions in peri-Sylvian regions, whereas semantic production and recognition deficits are associated with damage to the left anterior temporal lobe and white matter connectivity with frontal cortex, respectively. These findings provide a novel synthesis of traditional and contemporary views of the cognitive and neural architecture of language processing, emphasizing dual routes for speech processing and convergence of white matter tracts for semantic control and/or integration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6762
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2015


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