3-D ani­ma­tion of brain acti­va­tions illus­trates the idea of “upstream del­e­ga­tion”

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.