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J Neurophysiol. 2014 Sep 1;112(5):1105-18. doi: 10.1152/jn.00884.2013. Epub 2014 May 28.

A functional dissociation between language and multiple-demand systems revealed in patterns of BOLD signal fluctuations.

Author information

1
Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department and McGovern Institute of Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts iblank@mit.edu.
2
Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department and McGovern Institute of Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Abstract

What is the relationship between language and other high-level cognitive functions? Neuroimaging studies have begun to illuminate this question, revealing that some brain regions are quite selectively engaged during language processing, whereas other "multiple-demand" (MD) regions are broadly engaged by diverse cognitive tasks. Nonetheless, the functional dissociation between the language and MD systems remains controversial. Here, we tackle this question with a synergistic combination of functional MRI methods: we first define candidate language-specific and MD regions in each subject individually (using functional localizers) and then measure blood oxygen level-dependent signal fluctuations in these regions during two naturalistic conditions ("rest" and story-comprehension). In both conditions, signal fluctuations strongly correlate among language regions as well as among MD regions, but correlations across systems are weak or negative. Moreover, data-driven clustering analyses based on these inter-region correlations consistently recover two clusters corresponding to the language and MD systems. Thus although each system forms an internally integrated whole, the two systems dissociate sharply from each other. This independent recruitment of the language and MD systems during cognitive processing is consistent with the hypothesis that these two systems support distinct cognitive functions.

KEYWORDS:

functional connectivity; language; multiple demand system

PMID:
24872535
PMCID:
PMC4122731
DOI:
10.1152/jn.00884.2013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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