Though the current understanding of language processing is incomplete, it has been established that the left hemisphere is dominant for language in the majority of the population. Damage to language centers of the brain and to white matter tracts connecting these language centers results in a language deficit known as aphasia. Neuroplasticity in the brain can often compensate for these language deficits by strengthening neuronal connections between the right and left hemisphere, or by enhancing the neuronal connectivity of undamaged areas in the left hemisphere. Thus the brain can compensate for damaged language centers by using alternative cortical areas. These compensatory language areas may be homologous areas of the right hemisphere, or other undamaged portions of the left hemisphere. Various imaging techniques have been used to demonstrate this phenomenon. The current neuroimaging technique known as quantitative electroencephalographic brain imaging allows investigators to evaluate the functional anatomical location of language processing. When this mapping is overlaid on a magnetic resonance image, investigators are able to locate areas in the brain of the participant that are electrically activated during elicited speech tasks. This method was used in a single case study to examine the brain of an individual with a unique traumatic brain injury in which the anterior portion of the individual's left temporal lobe was surgically removed and considerable recovery of language subsequently occurred. The stimulus for the quantitative electroencephalography included identifying syntactically incorrect sentences. Imaging results from the participant with traumatic brain injury were compared to imaging results obtained from an age-matched control. Differences in quantitative electroencephalography between the two participants included a delayed P1-N1-P2 response and an absent P600 in the participant with traumatic brain injury. Behavioral results include an increased number of incorrect responses from the participant with traumatic brain injury as compared to the control participant. These results imply an interesting cortical distribution of language processing that could be further assessed by functional magnetic resonance imaging.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination, language processing, language recovery, left temporal lobe craniotomy, MRI, QEEG, TBI, Wernicke's aphasia