Table 6: Summary of main findings of brain organization of language using neuroimaging techniques from infancy to adulthood.

AuthorAgeMain findingsLanguage testTechnique

Leroy et al. [36]141–4 monthsThe ventral superior temporal sulcus (STS) is less mature than the inferior frontal area. A significant difference of maturation in the STS favors the right side. NoneMRI

Dehaene-Lambertz et al. [11]20 3 monthsLeft-lateralized brain regions (the superior temporal and angular gyri) were already active in infants. Oral speech stimuli fMRI

Pujol et al. [35]1000–3 yrs.Changes in the volume of myelinated WM began in the sensorimotor WM and the Heschl gyrus and extended to language-related areas. Both comprehension and production regions showed a very similar myelination course. NoneMRI

Su et al. [34]241
0–429 wks.
14-to-83 years
Higher cortical areas (Broca and Wernicke) matured later than the primary cortical areas, while the arcuate fasciculus matured last.NoneMRI

Szaflarski et al. [67]305, 6 & 7 yrs.With increasing age, there is progressive participation of the inferior/middle frontal, middle temporal, and angular gyri of the left hemisphere and the lingual and inferior temporal gyri of the right hemisphere Verb generation taskfMRI

Ressel et al. [69]227–16 yrs.Significant increase of left hemisphere lateralization as a function of age was observed for both tasks. Verb generation task and vowel-identificationMEG

Brown et al. [66]957–32 yrs.Systematic increases and decreases in cortical activity over age, by region. Age-related increases in activity were primarily in the left frontal and left parietal cortex. Decreases attenuated with age and were found across a broader neuroanatomical range, containing earlier processing regions such as the bilateral extrastriate cortex. Word generationfMRI

Kadis et al. [42]285–19 yrs.Positive correlation between left hemisphere lateralization during this language task and age.Verb generation taskMEG

Friederici et al. [13]15 children
16 adults
5–7 yrs.
26–30 yrs.
While adults display a network clearly lateralized in the left hemisphere underlying sentence processing, 6-year-old children demonstrate stronger inter-hemispheric connectivity.Sentence grammar identificationfMRI

Holland et al. [58]177–19 yrs.Significant association between hemisphere lateralization and age was found. Although most subjects at all ages showed left hemisphere dominance for this task, the degree of lateralization increased with age. Verb generation taskfMRI

Lidzba et al. [55]366–24 yrs.Language comprehension was associated with more focal activation with age in the bilateral superior temporal gyri with no increases of lateralization with age. The language production task showed an increase with age both in focus and lateralization. Beep stories task (language comprehension) and Vowel identification task (language production task)fMRI

Schlösser et al. [97]1222–26 yrs.Activation in the left prefrontal cortex and right cerebellum.Verbal fluency taskfMRI

Meinzer et al. [100]16
20–33 yrs.
66–88 yrs.
Performance during the phonemic task was equivalent for both age groups and mirrored by strongly left-lateralized (frontal) activity patterns. The decline in performance during the semantic task in the older group was complemented with additional right (inferior and middle) frontal activity, which was negatively correlated with performance.Semantic and phonemic fluency tasks fMRI

Nuñez et al. [41]197.2–15.8 yrs.Increased activation in the left and decreased activation in the right inferior front gyrus (with surge of cortical thickness in the right) was associated with increased syntactic proficiency. A maturational shift towards decreased involvement of the right IFG for syntactic processing is found. Sentence comprehension and judgment taskfMRI

Obler et al. [96]2456–79 yrs.Older adults with better naming skills could rely on right-hemisphere perisylvian and mid-frontal regions and pathways, in conjunction with left-hemisphere perisylvian and mid-frontal regions, to achieve success.Boston Naming Test and Action Naming TestMRI and DTI

Abrahams et al. [98]1839–76 yrs.Verbal fluency was associated with activation in the middle frontal gyrus (BA 46 and 9), the anterior cingulate gyrus, and the inferior frontal gyrus (area 44 and 45). Confrontation naming activated areas of the temporooccipital cortices (areas 18, 19, and 37) and the inferior frontal gyrus.Verbal fluency and confrontationfMRI

Note. MRI = magnetic Resonance Imaging; fMRI = functional; MEG = magnetoencephalography; DIT = diffusion tensor imaging.