Cortical correlates of self-generation in verbal paired associate learning

Pediatric Neuroimaging Research Consortium and Division of Neurology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, USA.
Brain research (Impact Factor: 2.84). 02/2012; 1437:104-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2011.12.020
Source: PubMed


Behavioral studies have shown that verbal information is better retained when it is self-generated rather than read (learned passively). We used fMRI and a paired associates task to examine brain networks underlying self-generated memory encoding. Subjects were 49 healthy English speakers ages 19-62 (30 female). In the fMRI task, related word pairs were presented in a "read" condition, where subjects viewed both words and read the second word aloud, or a "generate" condition, where the second word was presented with only the first letter and the subject was required to generate the word. Thirty word pairs were presented in each condition. After the fMRI scan, words that were read or generated were presented, each with two foils, in a forced-choice recognition task. On the recognition post-test, words from the "generate" condition were more correctly recognized than from the "read" condition (80.0% for generated words versus 72.0% for read words; t(48)=5.17, p<0.001). FMRI revealed increased activation for generate>read in inferior/middle frontal gyri bilaterally (L>R), anterior cingulate, and caudate nucleus and the temporo-parietal-occipital junction bilaterally. For the "read" condition, better subsequent memory performance across individual subjects was positively correlated with activation in the cuneus bilaterally. In the "generate" condition, better subsequent memory performance was positively correlated with activation in the left superior temporal gyrus. These results suggest that self-generation improves memory performance, that enhanced cortical activation accompanies self-generated encoding, and that recruitment of a specific brain network underlies self-generated encoding. The findings may have implications for the development of procedures to enhance memory performance.

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Available from: Jennifer J Vannest
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    • "After fMRI scanning, recognition memory for the second word in each pair was evaluated outside of the scanner (Siegel et al., 2012; Vannest et al., 2012). All 60 of the " read " or " generated " words were presented in a three-item forced-choice recognition task. "
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    ABSTRACT: Verbal information is better retained when it is self-generated rather than when it is received passively. The application of self-generation procedures has been found to improve memory in healthy elderly and in individuals with impaired cognition. Overall, the available studies support the notion that active participation in verbal encoding engages memory mechanisms that supplement those used during passive observation. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the age-related changes in the neural mechanisms involved in the encoding of paired-associates using a self-generation method that has been shown to improve memory performance across the lifespan. Subjects were 113 healthy right-handed adults (Edinburgh Handedness Inventory >50; 67 females) ages 18–76, native speakers of English with no history of neurological or psychiatric disorders. Subjects underwent fMRI at 3 T while performing didactic learning (“read”) or self-generation learning (“generate”) of 30 word pairs per condition. After fMRI, recognition memory for the second word in each pair was evaluated outside of the scanner. On the post-fMRI testing more “generate” words were correctly recognized than “read” words (p < 0.001) with older adults recognizing the “generated” words less accurately (p < 0.05). Independent component analysis of fMRI data identified task-related brain networks. Several components were positively correlated with the task reflecting multiple cognitive processes involved in self-generated encoding; other components correlated negatively with the task, including components of the default-mode network. Overall, memory performance on generated words decreased with age, but the benefit from self-generation remained consistently significant across ages. Independent component analysis of the neuroimaging data revealed an extensive set of components engaged in self-generation learning compared with didactic learning, and identified areas that were associated with age-related changes independent of performance.
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    • "Moreover, they support cognitive processes implicated in episodic memory, working memory updates associated with episodic retrieval (Borst and Anderson, 2013) or recollection (Yonelinas et al., 2005 in adults). The superior temporal gyrus is also implicated into self generation of verbal associations at encoding (Vannest et al., 2012 in adults). In the present study, we observed that the reduced volume in the superior temporal cortex extending to the inferior parietal lobule was related to episodic enhancement in children and adolescents. "
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    ABSTRACT: Episodic memory refers to the capacity to bind multimodal memories to constitute a unique personal event. Most developmental studies on episodic memory focused on one specific component, i.e., the core factual information. The present study examines the relevance of a novel episodic paradigm to assess its developmental trajectories in a more comprehensive way according to the type of association (item-feature, item-location, and item-sequence associations) with measures of both objective and subjective recollection. We conducted a behavioral study aimed at testing the effects of age in a large sample of 160 children, adolescents, and young adults (6-23 years old). We confronted the behavioral data to the neural correlates in a subgroup of 30 children using voxel-based morphometry. Behavioral data outlined differential developmental trajectories according to the type of association, with a continuous increase of factual associative memory efficiency until 10 years, a linear increase of performance in spatial associative memory that pursues until early adulthood and an abrupt increase in temporal associative memory efficiency between 9 and 10. Regarding recollection, measures showed a more pronounced enhancement from 9 to 10 years. Hence, behavioral data highlight a peculiar period in late childhood (8-10 years old) crucial for the developmental time course of episodic memory. Regarding structural data, we found that the improvement of associative memory efficiency was related to a decrease in gray matter volume in a large cerebral network including the dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (and superior and anterior temporal regions), and the hippocampus bilaterally. These data suggest that multimodal integration would probably be related to the maturation of temporal regions and modulated by a fronto-parietal network. Besides, our findings emphasize the relevance of the present paradigm to assess episodic memory especially in the clinical setting.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
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    • "com). The task consisted of 60 word pairs made up of simple familiar words, each six letters or less in length (Vannest et al. 2012). Words were paired based on five different linguistic relationships, equally weighted among each of the task conditions (generate and read). "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that self-generated information is better remembered than information that has been read passively. To further examine this subsequent memory effect, we investigated the effect of five different linguistic relationships on memory encoding. Ninety subjects were administered 60 paired associates during an encoding condition: 30 of the second words from each pair were to be read aloud and 30 were to be self-generated from clues as to the correct word. Word pairs were composed of five linguistic relationships: category, rhyme, opposite, synonym, and association. Subsequently, subjects were presented with the words that were read or generated in a forced recognition memory task. Overall, reading accuracy was higher than generation accuracy during the encoding phase (all P < 0.001). During the recognition phase, subjects' performance was better on the generate than on the read conditions for opposite, synonym, category, and association relationships (all P < 0.05), with no difference in the rhyme relationship. These results confirm previous findings that self-generated information is better remembered than read information and suggest that this advantage may be mediated by using opposite, synonym, category, and association relationships, while rhyme relationship may not extend such an advantage. These findings may have implications for future studies of memory interventions in healthy controls and subjects with cognitive impairments.
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