The Neural Correlates of Auditory Lexicosemantic Processing in the Chinese Language: An fMRI Study

Hengshuang LIU and SH Annabel CHEN

Everyday social communication emphasizes auditory semantic processing. To date, most studies of auditory semantic processing are mainly based on languages with alphabetic writing systems like English, where character languages such as Chinese are largely under-represented. Thus, the current study attempted to investigate the auditory semantic neuro-network for the Chinese language using fMRI. Twenty-three native Mandarin Chinese speakers were scanned while performing an auditory semantic-tone task. Results indicate that the Chinese auditory lexicosemantic network may involve the bilateral posterior superior temporal lobes, the left middle frontal gyrus, the left ventral inferior frontal gyrus, the anterior superior temporal cortex, the left middle temporal gyrus, and the left occipito-temporal cortex. Within this Chinese auditory lexicosemantic network, co-activity was observed between the right posterior superior temporal cortex and frontal areas. This verifies the significance of the fronto-temporal connectivity in the Chinese lexicosemantic network specifically in the auditory domain. Overall, the current network is consistent with the classical language networks based on alphabetic writing systems, but with features specific to Chinese. While the left inferior parietal lobule underlying sublexical-level phonemic assembly may not be involved in Chinese auditory lexicosemantic processing, the left middle frontal gyrus is likely to be recruited for the sound-to-form mapping at the whole character level. Taken together, the current study deepens our
nderstanding of how the linguistic and neurobiological representations interact during Chinese auditory lexicosemantic processing.

Published on: April 22, 2020
doi: 10.17756/jnpn.2020-033
Citation:  Liu H, Chen SHA. 2020. The Neural Correlates of Auditory Lexicosemantic Processing in the Chinese Language: An fMRI Study. J Neuroimaging Psychiatry Neurol 5(1): 6-15.