The Basal Ganglia and Language: A Tale of Two Loops

  • Anastasia BohsaliEmail author
  • Bruce Crosson
Part of the Innovations in Cognitive Neuroscience book series (Innovations Cogn.Neuroscience)


This chapter explores current evidence supporting basal ganglia’s involvement in language processing. We begin with a review of the anatomy of the basal ganglia loops and discuss two prefrontal cortex loops potentially supporting language functions. Specifically, we consider the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA) loop, Broca’s area loop, as well as white matter connectivity between these cortical areas. Considering current evidence, we propose that the pre-SMA loop may be involved in internally guided selection of lexical items, while Broca’s area–basal ganglia circuitry may support selection of appropriate phonological and articulatory representations of these items. White matter connections between Broca’s area and pre-SMA may enable information transfer between these two prefrontal cortex–basal ganglia loops supporting language functions.


Basal ganglia loops Language Broca’s area Pre-supplementary motor area White matter Internally guided lexical selection 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Brain Rehabilitation Research Center of ExcellenceGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence for Visual and Neurocognitive RehabilitationDecaturUSA
  4. 4.Departments of Neurology and RadiologyEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  6. 6.School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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