Neural correlates of morphological processing: Evidence from Chinese

Lijuan Zou, Jerome L. Packard, Zhichao Xia, Youyi Liu, Hua Shu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Morphological decomposition is an important part of complex word processing. In Chinese, this requires a comprehensive consideration of phonological, orthographic and morphemic information. The left inferior frontal gyrus (L-IFG) has been implicated in this process in alphabetic languages. However, it is unclear whether the neural mechanisms underlying morphological processing in alphabetic languages would be the same in Chinese, a logographic language. To investigate the neural basis of morphological processing in Chinese compound words, an fMRI experiment was conducted using an explicit auditory morphological judgment task. Results showed the L-IFG to be a core area in Chinese morphological processing, consistent with research in alphabetic languages. Additionally, a broad network consisting of the L-MTG, the bilateral STG and the L-FG that taps phonological, orthographic, and semantic information was found to be involved. These results provide evidence that the L-IFG plays an important role in morphological processing even in languages that are typologically different.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number714
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberJAN2016
StatePublished - Jan 19 2016


  • Brain network
  • Chinese
  • Morphological processing
  • Spoken words
  • The L-IFG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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