Sex differences in semantic language processing: A functional MRI study

L. C. Baxter, A. J. Saykin, L. A. Flashman, S. C. Johnson, S. J. Guerin, D. R. Babcock, H. A. Wishart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Scopus citations


Predictions based on two models of sex differences in cerebral organization of language were compared by examining fMRI patterns of 10 females and 9 males during a semantic processing task. Both groups displayed activation of left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), left superior temporal gyrus (STG), and cingulate. Females, but not males, showed bilateral IFG and STG activation. Further analyses revealed females had less diffuse left activation and greater right posterior temporal and insula region activation than males. Results support both an interhemispheric and an intrahemispheric model of sex differences in language, suggesting that the models may not be mutually exclusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-272
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Functional MRI
  • Language
  • Lateralization
  • Semantic memory
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing

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  • Cite this

    Baxter, L. C., Saykin, A. J., Flashman, L. A., Johnson, S. C., Guerin, S. J., Babcock, D. R., & Wishart, H. A. (2003). Sex differences in semantic language processing: A functional MRI study. Brain and Language, 84(2), 264-272.