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Brain Sci. 2013, 3(2), 627-641; doi:10.3390/brainsci3020627

Human Temporal Cortical Single Neuron Activity during Language: A Review

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Washington, Box 356470, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Received: 7 March 2013 / Accepted: 8 April 2013 / Published: 26 April 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain and Language)
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Findings from recordings of human temporal cortical single neuron activity during several measures of language, including object naming and word reading are reviewed and related to changes in activity in the same neurons during recent verbal memory and verbal associative learning measures, in studies conducted during awake neurosurgery for the treatment of epilepsy. The proportion of neurons changing activity with language tasks was similar in either hemisphere. Dominant hemisphere activity was characterized by relative inhibition, some of which occurred during overt speech, possibly to block perception of one’s own voice. However, the majority seems to represent a dynamic network becoming active with verbal memory encoding and especially verbal learning, but inhibited during performance of overlearned language tasks. Individual neurons are involved in different networks for different aspects of language, including naming or reading and naming in different languages. The majority of the changes in activity were tonic sustained shifts in firing. Patterned phasic activity for specific language items was very infrequently recorded. Human single neuron recordings provide a unique perspective on the biologic substrate for language, for these findings are in contrast to many of the findings from other techniques for investigating this. View Full-Text
Keywords: language; human single neuron activity; recent verbal memory; verbal associative learning language; human single neuron activity; recent verbal memory; verbal associative learning

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Ojemann, G.A. Human Temporal Cortical Single Neuron Activity during Language: A Review. Brain Sci. 2013, 3, 627-641.

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