Conclusions

A substantial body of behavioral data has been amassed concerning language and lexical processing. Studies of brain-damaged patients indicate that considerable modularity of processing components exists in these domains. Although there is some knowledge concerning the brain areas involved in various aspects of language processing, the knowledge is currently at a broad rather than fine-grained level. Some of the same brain areas are implicated in a variety of language functions. For example, the temporal lobe appears to be involved in phonological, semantic, and syntactic processing. It is possible, however, that further study will reveal that nonoverlapping areas within the temporal lobe are involved in these different aspects.

Future research using series of case studies with well-identified functional deficits and neuroimaging studies with normal subjects should provide a better specification of the localization and interaction of brain areas involved in word, sentence, and discourse processing.

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