Evidence for a double dissociation of articulatory rehearsal and non-articulatory maintenance of phonological information in human verbal working memory.
ABSTRACT Recent functional neuroimaging studies have provided evidence that human verbal working memory is represented by two complementary neural systems, a left lateralized premotor-parietal network implementing articulatory rehearsal and a presumably phylogenetically older bilateral anterior-prefrontal/inferior-parietal network subserving non-articulatory maintenance of phonological information. In order to corroborate these findings from functional neuroimaging, we performed a targeted behavioural study in patients with very selective and circumscribed brain lesions to key regions suggested to support these different subcomponents of human verbal working memory.
Within a sample of over 500 neurological patients assessed with high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging, we identified 2 patients with corresponding brain lesions, one with an isolated lesion to Broca's area and the other with a selective lesion bilaterally to the anterior middle frontal gyrus. These 2 patients as well as groups of age-matched healthy controls performed two circuit-specific verbal working memory tasks. In this way, we systematically assessed the hypothesized selective behavioural effects of these brain lesions on the different subcomponents of verbal working memory in terms of a double dissociation.
Confirming prior findings, the lesion to Broca's area led to reduced performance under articulatory rehearsal, whereas the non-articulatory maintenance of phonological information was unimpaired. Conversely, the bifrontopolar brain lesion was associated with impaired non-articulatory phonological working memory, whereas performance under articulatory rehearsal was unaffected.
The present experimental neuropsychological study in patients with specific and circumscribed brain lesions confirms the hypothesized double dissociation of two complementary brain systems underlying verbal working memory in humans. In particular, the results demonstrate the functional relevance of the anterior prefrontal cortex for non-articulatory maintenance of phonological information and, in this way, provide further support for the evolutionary-based functional-neuroanatomical model of human working memory.
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ABSTRACT: Many studies have demonstrated attenuated verbal working memory (WM) under articulatory suppression. However, performance is not completely abolished, suggesting a less efficient, non-articulatory mechanism for the maintenance of verbal information. The neural causes for the reduced efficiency of such a putative complementary maintenance system have not yet been addressed. The present study was conducted to fill this gap. Subjects performed a Sternberg task (a) under articulatory maintenance at low, high, and supracapacity set sizes and (b) under non-articulatory maintenance at low and high set sizes. With functional magnetic resonance imaging, set-size related increases in activity were compared between subvocal articulatory rehearsal and non-articulatory maintenance. First, the results replicate previous findings showing different networks underlying these two maintenance strategies. Second, activation of all key nodes of the articulatory maintenance network increased with the amount of memorized information, showing no plateau at high set sizes. In contrast, for non-articulatory maintenance, there was evidence for a plateau at high set sizes in all relevant areas of the network. Third, for articulatory maintenance, the non-articulatory maintenance network was additionally recruited at supracapacity set sizes, presumably to assist processing in this highly demanding condition. This is the first demonstration of differential neural bottlenecks for articulatory and non-articulatory maintenance. This study adds to our understanding of the performance differences between these two strategies supporting verbal WM.Experimental Brain Research 12/2013; · 2.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recent studies have demonstrated that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) modulates cortical activity in the human brain. In the language domain, it has already been shown that during a naming task tDCS reduces vocal reaction times in healthy individuals and speeds up the recovery process in left brain-damaged aphasic subjects. In this study, we wondered whether tDCS would influence the ability to articulate tongue twisters during a repetition task. Three groups of ten healthy individuals were asked to repeat a list of tongue twisters in three different stimulation conditions: one group performed the task during anodal tDCS (20min, 2mA) over the left frontal region; a second group during cathodal tDCS delivered over the same region; and, in a third group, sham stimulation was applied. Accuracy and vocal reaction times in repeating each tongue twister before, during and one hour after the stimulation were recorded. Participants were more accurate and faster at repeating the stimuli during anodal tDCS than at baseline, while cathodal tDCS significantly reduced their performance in terms of accuracy and reaction times. No significant differences were observed among the three time points during the sham condition. We believe that these data clearly confirm that the left frontal region is critically involved in the process of speech repetition. They are also in line with recent evidence suggesting that frontal tDCS might be used as a therapeutic tool in patients suffering from articulatory deficits.Neuroscience 10/2013; · 3.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neuroimaging studies have repeatedly reported findings of activation in frontoparietal regions that largely overlap across various cognitive functions. Part of this frontoparietal activation has been interpreted as reflecting attentional mechanisms that can adaptively be directed towards external stimulation as well as internal representations (internal attention), thereby generating the experience of distinct cognitive functions. Nevertheless, findings of material- and task-specific activation in frontal and parietal regions challenge this internal attention hypothesis and have been used to support more modular hypotheses of cognitive function. The aim of this review is twofold: First, it discusses evidence in support of the concept of internal attention and the so-called dorsal attention network (DAN) as its neural source with respect to three cognitive functions (working memory, episodic retrieval, and mental imagery). While DAN activation in all three functions has been separately linked to internal attention, a comprehensive and integrative review has so far been lacking. Second, the review examines findings of material- and process-specific activation within frontoparietal regions, arguing that these results are well compatible with the internal attention account of frontoparietal activation. A new model of cognition is presented, proposing that supposedly different cognitive concepts actually rely on similar attentional network dynamics to maintain, reactivate and newly create internal representations of stimuli in various modalities. Attentional as well as representational mechanisms are assigned to frontal and parietal regions, positing that some regions are implicated in the allocation of attentional resources to perceptual or internal representations, but others are involved in the representational processes themselvesProgress in Neurobiology 01/2014; · 9.04 Impact Factor