Comparison of rhyming and word generation with FMRI

Joseph T. Lurito, David A. Kareken, Mark J. Lowe, Shen Hsing A. Chen, Vincent P. Mathews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

129 Scopus citations


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) has been successfully used to non-invasively map language function, but has several disadvantages. These include severe motion sensitivity, which limits overt verbal responses in behavioral paradigms, such as word generation. The lack of overt responses prevents behavioral validation, making data interpretation difficult. Our objective was to compare the FMRI activation patterns of a novel silent rhyme determination task requiring a non-verbal response, to covert word generation from visually presented letters. Five strongly right-handed subjects performed both tasks during multi-slice coronal echo-planar T2*-weighted FMRI. Single subject activation maps were generated for each task by correlation analysis of single pixel time series to a boxcar reference function. These maps for the two tasks were separately interpolated to 2563, transformed into Talairach space, summed, and thresholded at t>6. Combined activation maps from both tasks showed similar robust perisylvian language area activation, including inferior frontal gyrus, posterior superior temporal lobe, and fusiform gyrus. Subjects performed well on the rhyming task, which activated left hemisphere cortical regions more selectively than the word generation task. The rhyming task showed less activation than the word generation task in areas typically not considered specifically related to language function, such as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate. The rhyming task is a useful tool for brain mapping and clinical applications, potentially more specific to cortical language areas than verbal fluency. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2000


  • Brain
  • Broca
  • Cortex
  • Fluency
  • Human
  • Language
  • Phonology
  • Wernicke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

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