The role of Broca's area in sentence comprehension

Corianne Rogalsky, Gregory Hickok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


The role of Broca's area in sentence processing has been debated for the last 30 years. A central and still unresolved issue is whether Broca's area plays a specific role in some aspect of syntactic processing (e.g., syntactic movement, hierarchical structure building) or whether it serves a more general function on which sentence processing relies (e.g., working memory). This review examines the functional organization of Broca's area in regard to its contributions to sentence comprehension, verbal working memory, and other multimodal cognitive processes. We suggest that the data are consistent with the view that at least a portion of the contribution of Broca's area to sentence comprehension can be attributed to its role as a phonological short-term memory resource. Furthermore, our review leads us to conclude that there is no compelling evidence that there are sentence-specific processing regions within Broca's area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1664-1680
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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