This study investigates the neuro-cognitive mechanisms employed to monitor and resolve conflicts between competing sentential representations during sentence comprehension. Participants took part in a sentence comprehension task as well as the flanker and the color-word Stroop tasks while their brain activities were scanned with fMRI. Medial superior frontal gyrus (mSFG), left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), and left angular gyrus/inferior parietal lobule (AG/IPL) were more activated for implausible sentences, in which syntactic processes and semantic strategies give rise to incompatible sentential representations, as compared with plausible sentences, in which syntactic processes and semantic strategies point to coherent interpretations. Among them, dorsal mSFG, left IFG, and left IPL constantly responded to the plausibility in sentence comprehension and the congruency in the two perceptual tasks, while anterior mSFG and left AG were specifically sensitive to the sentence plausibility. These results suggest that the domain-general mechanisms of executive control are recruited to deal with conflicts between representations of linguistic inputs. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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