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A unified neurocomputational bilateral model of spoken language production in healthy participants and recovery in post-stroke aphasia
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Year of publication:
In Press
CBU number:
Understanding the processes underlying normal, impaired and recovered language performance has been a long-standing goal for cognitive and clinical neuroscience. Many verbally-described hypotheses about language lateralisation and recovery have been generated. However, they have not been considered within a single, unified and implemented computational framework, and the literatures on healthy participants and patients are largely separated. These investigations also span different types of data, including behavioural results and fMRI brain activations, which augment the challenge for any unified theory. Consequently, many key issues, apparent contradictions and puzzles remain to be solved. We developed a neurocomputational, bilateral pathway model of spoken language production, designed to provide a unified framework to simulate different types of data from healthy participants and aphasic patients. The model encapsulates key computational principles (differential computational capacity, emergent division of labour across pathways, experience-dependent plasticity-related recovery) and provides an explanation for the bilateral yet asymmetric lateralisation of language in healthy participants, chronic aphasia after left rather than right hemisphere lesions, and the basis of partial recovery in patients. The model provides a formal basis for understanding the relationship between behavioural performance and brain activation. The unified model is consistent with the degeneracy and variable neuro-displacement theories of language recovery, and adds computational insights to these hypotheses regarding the neural machinery underlying language processing and plasticity-related recovery following damage.