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Stimulating Multiple-Demand Cortex Enhances Vocabulary Learning

Sliwinska, Magdalena W., Violante, Ines, Wise, Richard J.S., Leech, Robert, Devlin, Joseph T., Geranmayeh, Fatemeh and Hampshire, Adam (2017) Stimulating Multiple-Demand Cortex Enhances Vocabulary Learning The Journal of Neuroscience, 37 (32). pp. 7606-7618.

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It is well established that networks within multiple-demand cortex (MDC) become active when diverse skills and behaviors are being learnt. However, their causal role in learning remains to be established. In the present study, we first performed functional magnetic resonance imaging on healthy female and male human participants to confirm that MDC was most active in the initial stages of learning a novel vocabulary, consisting of pronounceable nonwords (pseudowords), each associated with a picture of a real object. We then examined, in healthy female and male human participants, whether repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of a frontal midline node of the cingulo-opercular MDC affected learning rates specifically during the initial stages of learning. We report that stimulation of this node, but not a control brain region, substantially improved both accuracy and response times during the earliest stage of learning pseudoword–object associations. This stimulation had no effect on the processing of established vocabulary, tested by the accuracy and response times when participants decided whether a real word was accurately paired with a picture of an object. These results provide evidence that noninvasive stimulation to MDC nodes can enhance learning rates, thereby demonstrating their causal role in the learning process. We propose that this causal role makes MDC candidate target for experimental therapeutics; for example, in stroke patients with aphasia attempting to reacquire a vocabulary.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Sliwinska, Magdalena W.
Wise, Richard J.S.
Leech, Robert
Devlin, Joseph T.
Geranmayeh, Fatemeh
Hampshire, Adam
Date : 9 August 2017
DOI : 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3857-16.2017
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright © 2017 Sliwinska et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Midline superior frontal gyrus; Multiple-demand cortex; Novel vocabulary learning; Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 12 Apr 2018 06:18
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 19:09

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