Previous studies investigating the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) have relied on a number of tasks which involved cognitive control and attentional demands. In this fMRI study, we tested the model that ACC functions as an attentional network in the processing of language. We employed a paradigm that requires the processing of concurrent linguistic information predicting that the cognitive costs imposed by competing trials would engender the activation of ACC. Subjects were confronted with sentences where the semantic content conflicted with the prosodic intonation (CONF condition) randomly interspaced with sentences which conveyed coherent discourse components (NOCONF condition). We observed the activation of the rostral ACC and the middle frontal gyrus when the NOCONF condition was subtracted from the CONF condition. Our findings provide evidence for the involvement of the rostral ACC in the processing of complex competing linguistic stimuli, supporting theories that claim its relevance as a part of the cortical attentional circuit. The processing of emotional prosody involved a bilateral network encompassing the superior and medial temporal cortices. This evidence confirms previous research investigating the neuronal network that supports the processing of emotional information.
- Anterior cingulate cortex
- Emotional prosody
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging
- Language processing
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