In order to clarify the relationship among grammatical knowledge, processing components, and neural
substrates in sentence comprehension, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate how brain activation
is affected by two types of scrambling (short scrambling and middle scrambling) in ditransitive sentences in Japanese.
Short scrambling and middle scrambling enhanced activation in the anterior and posterior left inferior frontal gyrus
respectively. This finding accords with the view that the anterior left inferior frontal gyrus is involved in the automatic
processing that establishes a dependency relation between a verb and its arguments, and the posterior left inferior frontal
gyrus supports this kind of processing through its role in verbal working memory. This result is more congruent with a
process-based approach to neural bases for sentence processing, which searches for neurological correlates of
psycholinguistically defined processing components, than with a grammar-based approach, which probes neural networks
with the assumption that major grammatical operations are neurologically individuated.