Recently, with a data set dating back to my time in Angela Friederici’s department, we proposed the idea that auditory signal degradation would affect the exact configuration of activity along the main processing streams of language, in the superior temporal and inferior frontal cortex. We tentatively coined this process “upstream delegation”: The activations that were driven by increasing syntactic demands, with the challenge of decreasing signal quality coming on top, were all of a sudden found more “upstream” from where we had located them with improvingsignal quality.
In a fascinating and instructive interactive 3-D version (Oh, this sound so 1990s but it’s true!) , you can now study and manipulate (in the literal, not the scientific misconduct-sense) this and various other findings from Angela’s lab yourself: Fire up Chrome or Firefox and Check it out here.
All of this is taken from a recent review by Angela [Friederici, AD (2011) Physiological Reviews, 91(4), 1357–1392], where she lays out her current take on inferior frontal cortex, the tracts connecting to and from it, and its role in syntax processing. The funky 3-D stuff is by Ralph Schurade. Don’t ask how long it took us to get all the coordinates in place.