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Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Ser. B, Physical and Biological Sciences

Vol. 93 No. 7 (2017)

  Vol. 93 No. 7 (2017)
Ambient seismic wave field
Proc. Jpn. Acad., Ser. B, Vol. 93, 423-448 (2017) [Abstract and Full Text]
Favipiravir (T-705), a broad spectrum inhibitor of viral RNA polymerase
Yousuke FURUTA, Takashi KOMENO and Takaaki NAKAMURA
Proc. Jpn. Acad., Ser. B, Vol. 93, 449-463 (2017) [Abstract and Full Text]
TRP channels in oxygen physiology: distinctive functional properties and roles of TRPA1 in O2 sensing
Yasuo MORI, Nobuaki TAKAHASHI, Tatsuki KUROKAWA and Shigeki KIYONAKA
Proc. Jpn. Acad., Ser. B, Vol. 93, 464-482 (2017) [Abstract and Full Text]
Fluorescence imaging of synapse dynamics in normal circuit maturation and in developmental disorders
Shigeo OKABE
Proc. Jpn. Acad., Ser. B, Vol. 93, 483-497 (2017) [Abstract and Full Text]
Original Articles
Intrinsic ubiquitin E3 ligase activity of histone acetyltransferase Hbo1 for estrogen receptor α
Proc. Jpn. Acad., Ser. B, Vol. 93, 498-510 (2017)[Abstract and Full Text]
Activation changes of the left inferior frontal gyrus for the factors of construction and scrambling in a sentence
Kyohei TANAKA, Shinri OHTA, Ryuta KINNO and Kuniyoshi L. SAKAI
Proc. Jpn. Acad., Ser. B, Vol. 93, 511-522 (2017)[Abstract and Full Text]
Erratum to “Mechanisms of organelle division and inheritance and their implications regarding the origin of eukaryotic cells”
Tsuneyoshi KUROIWA
Proc. Jpn. Acad., Ser. B, Vol. 93, 523 (2017)[Full Text]
Errata to “Rapid and coordinated processing of global motion images by local clusters of retinal ganglion cells”
Proc. Jpn. Acad., Ser. B, Vol. 93, 524 (2017)[Full Text]
Cover Illustration
The brain knows syntax

  The faculty of human language is often equated with “a system of communication,” where meaning (semantics) is more important than form (syntax). It is true that language is used for communication, but the notion of “language as the primary function of communication” misses the fact that language is a computational cognitive mechanism (syntax) neurally implemented in the brain, which yields hierarchical syntactic structures. From this biological perspective, human language syntax underlies the production and comprehension of speech in communicative contexts.
  Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with a picture-sentence matching paradigm (see the cover illustration), Tanaka et al. (pp. 511-522 in this issue) provided neural evidence that syntax is selectively localized in the left frontal cortex, strengthening their previous proposal that Broca’s area subserves the core computational operation of syntax. In the experiment, six types of stimuli were used: active, passive, potential sentences and their scrambled counterparts. Case particles (i.e., ga, o, ni) in Japanese encode the semantic information that who does what, thereby allowing free word order via scrambling and playing an important role in semantic processing. The results reported here, however, demonstrate that the left frontal cortex responded more strongly to scrambled passive sentences and potential sentences (scrambled or unscrambled), than unscrambled passive sentences and active sentences (scrambled or unscrambled), which cannot be explained by semantic factors. This research clearly shows that syntax is “the basic property” of language, suggesting that word order (externalization) is an ancillary process.

Noriaki Yusa
Miyagi Gakuin Women's University

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