In a comment to my last post on the CNS Summer Institute, TB Down Under rep, Greig de Zubicaray, mentioned Indefrey and Levelt's 2004 paper as an example of a solid attempt to merge neuroscience and psycholinguistics. I'm my response comment, I agreed, but cautioned that we don't actually learn much by localizing neural correlates of the various boxes in an assumed psycholinguistic model, as Indefrey & Levelt did. Such localization exercises don't tell us how language is processed in the brain, only where it is processed, and "where" by itself, isn't that interesting. Seriously, who really cares if phonological encoding in speech production involves the dorsal or ventral bank of the STS (for example)? But, as Greig points out, "where" has the potential to reveal "how," and I agree.
But what have we learned? We are more than decade removed from the first PET and fMRI studies of language processing. Presumably this is enough time to assess progress, so this seems like a good time for an exercise:
What are the Top 10 contributions of functional imaging (PET & fMRI, specifically) to understanding how language is processed in the brain? [crickets]
We better get some feedback on this question, because if the neuroscience of language community can't come up with anything on this one, it probably means we are wasting our time generating pretty pictures. Go ahead and draw on your own work.
Greig suggested that some of his own imaging studies indicate that the architecture for language processing system are more closely related to connectionist architectures than serial feedforward architectures.
Can we come up with a Top 10 list?