We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in conjunction with a voxel-based approach to lesion symptom mapping to quantitatively evaluate the similarities and differences between brain areas involved in language and environmental sound comprehension. In general, we found that language and environmental sounds recruit highly overlapping cortical regions, with cross-domain differences being graded rather than absolute. Within language-based regions of interest, we found that in the left hemisphere, language and environmental sound stimuli evoked very similar volumes of activation, whereas in the right hemisphere, there was greater activation for environmental sound stimuli. Finally, lesion symptom maps of aphasic patients based on environmental sounds or linguistic deficits [Saygin, A. P., Dick, F., Wilson, S. W., Dronkers, N. F., & Bates, E. Shared neural resources for processing language and environmental sounds: Evidence from aphasia. Brain, 126, 928–945, 2003] were generally predictive of the extent of blood oxygenation level dependent fMRI activation across these regions for sounds and linguistic stimuli in young healthy subjects.

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