Language Mechanisms in the Brain, Development
In the past 40 years, parts of the brain outside the classical cortical language zones, including the supplementary motor, medial limbic, and medial frontal cortices, caudate nucleus, and thalamus, have been implicated by neuropsychological investigations in the motivation and motor programming and cognitive processes for language. Noninvasive imaging by regional blood flow (rCBF) or local glucose metabolism rate (rCMR) confirm that neocortical language processing is regulated by widespread concurrent or antecedent processes outside the cortex, some of which have intrinsic asymmetry. Developments in Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas in childhood are, therefore, likely to be regulated by processes originating in mesolimbic structures, basal ganglia, and thalamus that begin their development earlier than the cognitive neocortex. Aspects of the emotional (interpersonal) and cognitive context for speech or text may be represented more in the right hemisphere of most people, and such processes are likely to be important in children.
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