The ability of the brain to change and form new neuropathways after brain injury is remarkable. The current study investigates the brains ability to form new pathways for language processing following traumatic brain injury (TBI), specifically a left temporal lobectomy. Two subjects participated in this study; one participant with TBI and one age-matched control. Sentence stimuli consisted of four types: semantically correct, semantically incorrect, syntactically correct, and syntactically incorrect. Participants underwent a fMRI scan while the auditory stimuli were presented in four blocks. Participants were asked to record if the sentence was correct or incorrect by pressing the corresponding button. It was found that reaction times for both the participant with TBI and the control were longer for the incorrect conditions. The participant with TBI generally had longer reaction times compared to the control participant and had more errors. During the fMRI scans, patient movement occurred. The block design was not set up to account for movement. Due to this factor, imaging results are questionable. While there were differences between the participant with TBI and the control participant, these differences are expected to be much larger in someone with this degree of brain injury. It is recommended for further studies to be conducted in this area with a revised block design to account for patient movement.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





functional magnetic resonance imaging, neuroplasticity, semantic processing, syntactic processing, traumatic brain injury, reaction time