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Positron Emission Tomography (PET) was used to determine regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) when eight normal right-handed males read and made acceptability judgments about sentences. rCBF was greater in Broca's area (particularly in the pars opercularis) when subjects judged the semantic plausibility of syntactically more complex sentences as compared to(More)
Results of twin studies clearly demonstrate that genetic factors play an important role in the rate of language acquisition and linguistic proficiency attained by normal and impaired children and adults [see Stromswold, K. (2001). The heritability of language: A review and meta-analysis of twin, adoption and linkage studies. Language, 77, 647-723.]. That(More)
If language is the result of specialized structures in the brain and if these language-specific structures are genetically encoded, one would expect to find evidence of the heritability of language. In this article I review the results of family aggregation, pedigree, sex ratio, commingling, and segregation studies of spoken language disorders. The results(More)
In two eye-tracking experiments, we investigate adults' and children's on-line processing of referentially ambiguous English pronouns. Sixteen adults and 16 four-to-seven-year-olds listened to sentences with either an unambiguous reflexive (himself) or an ambiguous pronoun (him) and chose a picture with two characters that corresponded to those in the(More)
In this paper I argue that genetic studies of language provide insights about the evolution of language. The finding that genetic factors affect all aspects of language is consistent with theories that argue that language is at least partially the result of innate factors, and that the factors have evolved. Genetic factors appear to play a greater role for(More)
Without instruction, most children master the complexities of spoken language by the age of 6 or 7 years. About 5% of apparently healthy children, however, struggle to acquire basic competence in one or more aspects of spoken language and are classified as having specific language impairment. Genetic factors have an important role in many such cases. 1,2(More)
Why is it impossible to process The rat the cat the dog chased ate died? The standard explanations all focus on its syntactic structure, but the present paper offers an alternative explanation in terms of semantic structure. The syntactic account cannot explain why some sentences which are syntactically similar are much easier to process. The difficult(More)