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See detailPrecision of neural codes involved in storing phonological information in working memory
Bouffier, Marion ULiege; Kowialiewski, Benjamin ULiege; Attout, Lucie ULiege et al

Poster (2020, September 03)

Working memory (WM) precision is defined as the quality with which representations are stored in WM, and has to be distinguished from WM capacity, which is the quantity of information that can be ... [more ▼]

Working memory (WM) precision is defined as the quality with which representations are stored in WM, and has to be distinguished from WM capacity, which is the quantity of information that can be maintained in WM. This study is the first to assess the neural precision of WM traces for auditory-verbal information, using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) approach. In this experiment, we asked 27 young adults to actively maintain 4-syllable nonwords during a 7-second interval. The nonwords were highly similar or dissimilar at the phonological level. Using multivariate voxel pattern analysis (MVPA), we explored the neural patterns associated with each nonword. We hypothesized that if auditory-verbal WM precision is limited, as indicated by the well-established phonological similarity effect in the WM literature, then dissimilar but not similar nonwords should be associated with distinctive neural patterns during WM, especially during the maintenance stage. Using Bayesian one sample t-tests on whole-brain classification accuracies, we observed that neural decoding of similar nonwords was at chance level, while neural decoding of dissimilar nonwords was clearly above chance during the maintenance stage. Searchlight analyses showed that the informative neural patterns were located in the dorsal language pathway known to support phonological processing. These results provide evidence for the neural basis of the phonological similarity effect in WM and the limited precision of phonological coding in WM. [less ▲]

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See detailÉvaluation des effets de la prise en charge des troubles du contrôle phonologique et sémantique auprès du patient aphasique : une approche par IRM fonctionnelle
Querella, Pauline ULiege; Attout, Lucie ULiege; WIOT, Nathalie ULiege et al

Poster (2020, May 29)

INTRODUCTION: Les patients aphasiques peuvent présenter des déficits de contrôle langagier phonologique et/ou sémantique, caractérisés par des difficultés d’inhibition verbale et mémoire de travail ... [more ▼]

INTRODUCTION: Les patients aphasiques peuvent présenter des déficits de contrôle langagier phonologique et/ou sémantique, caractérisés par des difficultés d’inhibition verbale et mémoire de travail verbale. Il existe actuellement peu de prises en charge validées pour ce type de trouble. L’objectif de cette étude de cas est d’examiner la faisabilité d’une rééducation du contrôle langagier à la fois à un niveau comportemental et cérébral. MÉTHODOLOGIE: Le patient CT était âgé de 77 ans et présentait des paraphasies phonologiques et sémantiques ainsi que des intrusions verbales dans des tâches de dénomination et de rappel sériel immédiat (RSI), indiquant un déficit de contrôle langagier phonologique et sémantique. La rééducation s’est basée sur les troubles de contrôle phonologique et s’est déroulée sur 9 semaines (9x1 heure). Elle se présentait sous forme de 4 types d’exercices dans lesquels CT devait dénommer un stimulus cible tout en inhibant un distracteur phonologiquement lié et présenté de manière auditive ou visuelle. La ligne de base (LDB) consistait en une tâche de RSI de mots comprenant des items travaillés et non travaillés. Enfin, le patient, et 34 sujets contrôles, ont réalisé une tâche de contrôle phonologique et sémantique à deux reprises en IRMf, c’est-à-dire avant et après la rééducation pour CT et après un temps d’attente équivalant à la durée de la rééducation du patient pour les sujets contrôles. RÉSULTATS: Au niveau comportemental, les performances de CT s’amélioraient de manière significative pour les items travaillés de la LDB. Des progrès étaient également observés pour les items non travaillés, suggérant un transfert de l’entraînement. Une diminution des intrusions et paraphasies verbales était observée dans les tâches de dénomination et de RSI. Ces résultats n’étaient pas explicables par une récupération spontanée car les performances restaient déficitaires dans les tâches de contrôle phonologique et sémantique présentées en IRM. Au niveau cérébral, et par rapport aux sujets contrôles, CT activait davantage des régions impliquées dans le contrôle (gyrus frontal inférieur, gyrus cingulaire) et le traitement phonologique (gyrus précentral, gyrus supramarginal), et ceci spécifiquement à la fin de la rééducation. DISCUSSION: Le programme d’entraînement phonologique semble avoir amélioré en partie les capacités de contrôle langagier phonologique de CT, associé à une sollicitation accrue de régions cérébrales impliquées dans le contrôle phonologique. Ces résultats montrent qu’une rééducation du contrôle phonologique est possible, mais une rééducation plus intensive et prolongée pourrait être nécessaire pour optimiser l’efficacité de ce type de rééducation. [less ▲]

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See detailRehabilitation of phonological and semantic control in aphasia: an fMRI case study
Querella, Pauline ULiege; Attout, Lucie ULiege; WIOT, Nathalie ULiege et al

Poster (2020, May 27)

Aphasic patients may suffer from phonological or semantic inhibitory control deficits which are characterized by difficulties at the level of verbal inhibition and working memory. Very few treatment ... [more ▼]

Aphasic patients may suffer from phonological or semantic inhibitory control deficits which are characterized by difficulties at the level of verbal inhibition and working memory. Very few treatment methods are available for this type of deficit. We investigated the feasibility of a phonological control treatment program in an aphasic patient, at both behavioural and neural levels. CT (77 years old) presented with aphasic symptoms characterized by verbal inhibition deficits in various language and verbal memory tasks. Phonological control was trained with a series of tasks in which CT had to name a stimulus while inhibiting a phonological distractor presented along with the target. Baseline measures were obtained via a word immediate serial task, with both trained and untrained words. CT and 34 control subjects (CS) also completed a phonological and a semantic inhibition task in an MRI scanner. At the end of the training program, CT’s performance had significantly improved, for both treated and untreated words , suggesting a transfer effect of phonological inhibitory training rather than spontaneous recovery given that CT’s performance was still impaired in semantic inhibitory tasks (as well as other phonological control tasks) A reduced number of intrusion errors and verbal paraphasias in naming and immediate serial recall tasks was further noticed. At the neural level, following training, CT showed increased activity in fronto-temporal areas associated with phonological processing and control, as compared to controls. These results highlight the specificity of treatment programs of verbal inhibition, and by extension, of verbal language control by distinguishing between phonological and semantic inhibitory processes. [less ▲]

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See detailPrecision of neural representations supporting auditory-verbal working memory.
Bouffier, Marion ULiege; Kowialiewski, Benjamin ULiege; Attout, Lucie ULiege et al

Poster (2020, May 27)

Working memory (WM) precision is defined as the quality with which representations are stored in WM, and has to be distinguished from WM capacity, which is the quantity of information that can be ... [more ▼]

Working memory (WM) precision is defined as the quality with which representations are stored in WM, and has to be distinguished from WM capacity, which is the quantity of information that can be maintained in WM. This study is the first to assess the neural precision of WM traces for auditory-verbal information, using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) approach. In this experiment, we asked 27 young adults to actively maintain 4-syllable nonwords during a 7-second interval. The nonwords were highly similar or dissimilar at the phonological level. Using multivariate voxel pattern analysis (MVPA), we explored the neural patterns associated with each nonword. We hypothesized that if auditory-verbal WM precision is limited, as indicated by the well-established phonological similarity effect in the WM literature, then dissimilar but not similar nonwords should be associated with distinctive neural patterns during WM maintenance. Using Bayesian one sample t-tests on whole-brain classification accuracies, we observed that neural decoding of similar nonwords was at chance level, while neural decoding of dissimilar nonwords was clearly above chance during the maintenance stage. Searchlight analyses showed that the informative neural patterns were located in the dorsal language pathway known to support phonological processing. These results provide evidence for the neural basis of the phonological similarity effect in WM and the limited precision of phonological coding in WM. [less ▲]

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See detailThe developmental neural substrates of Hebb repetition learning and their link with reading ability
Attout, Lucie ULiege; Ordonez Magro, Laura; Szmalec, Arnaud et al

in Human Brain Mapping (2020)

Hebb repetition learning is a fundamental learning mechanism for sequential knowledge, such as language. However, still little is known about its development. This fMRI study examined the developmental ... [more ▼]

Hebb repetition learning is a fundamental learning mechanism for sequential knowledge, such as language. However, still little is known about its development. This fMRI study examined the developmental neural substrates of Hebb repetition learning and its relation with reading abilities in a group of 49 children aged from 6 to 12 years. In the scanner, the children carried out an immediate serial recall task for syllable sequences of which some sequences were repeated several times over the course of the session (Hebb repetition sequences). The rate of Hebb repetition learning was associated with modulation of activity in the medial temporal lobe. Importantly, for the age range studied here, learning-related medial temporal lobe modulation was independent of the age of the children. Furthermore, we observed an association between regular and irregular word reading abilities and the neural substrates of Hebb repetition learning. This study suggests that the functional neural substrates of Hebb repetition learning do not undergo further maturational changes in school age children, possibly because they are sustained by implicit sequential learning mechanisms which are considered to be fully developed by that age. Importantly, the neural substrates of Hebb learning remain significant determinants of children's learning abilities, such as reading. [less ▲]

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See detailHow robust is the link between working memory for serial order and lexical skills in children?
Attout, Lucie ULiege; Gregoire, Coline ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege

in Cognitive Development (2020), 53

The link between verbal working memory (WM) and vocabulary development has been explored extensively. At the same time, the vast majority of studies in this field used lexical tasks that generally ... [more ▼]

The link between verbal working memory (WM) and vocabulary development has been explored extensively. At the same time, the vast majority of studies in this field used lexical tasks that generally involved a high WM demands, leading to an unclear understanding of this link. The present study re-explored the link between WM for serial order, WM for item information and lexical abilities by administering, to 92 children aged 4-to-6 years, both standard receptive vocabulary tasks with a high WM demands and single picture naming tasks with minimal WM demands. Analyses provided strong evidence for a specific link between serial order WM and both vocabulary measures, with a particularly important link with the rare noun subtask and the absence of link with verbs. These results suggest that the link between lexical abilities and verbal WM in young children is robust and not inflated by the WM demands of specific vocabulary tasks. [less ▲]

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See detailMagnitude processing in populations with spina-bifida: The role of visuospatial and working memory processes
Attout, Lucie ULiege; Noël, M.-P.; Rousselle, Laurence ULiege

in Research in Developmental Disabilities (2020), 102(7),

People with Spina Bifida usually experience difficulties with mathematics. In a series of other developmental disorders, a magnitude processing deficit was considered to be the main source of subsequent ... [more ▼]

People with Spina Bifida usually experience difficulties with mathematics. In a series of other developmental disorders, a magnitude processing deficit was considered to be the main source of subsequent difficulties in mathematics. The processing of magnitude could be numerical (which is the larger number) or non-numerical such as spatial (e.g., which is the longer?) or temporal (which one last longer?) for instance. However, no study yet has examined directly magnitude processes in a population with Spina Bifida. On the other hand, recent studies in people with genetic syndromes have suggested that visuospatial and working memory processes play an important role in magnitude processing, including number magnitude. Therefore, in this study we explored for the first time magnitude representation using several tasks with different visuospatial and working memory processing requirements, cognitive skills frequently impaired in Spina Bifida. Results showed children with SB presented a global magnitude processing deficit for non-numerical and numerical comparison tasks, but not in symbolic number magnitude tasks compared to controls. Importantly, visuospatial skills and working memory abilities could partially explain the differences between groups in comparison and estimation tasks. This study proposes that magnitude processing difficulties in children with SB could be due to higher cognitive factors such as visuospatial and working memory processes. [less ▲]

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See detailCommon neural patterns for serial order coding in working memory, number and letter domains: A multi-voxel pattern analysis approach
Leroy, Nathan ULiege; Attout, Lucie ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege

Poster (2019, October 04)

Background – The retention of serial order information allows for the structured encoding and maintenance of the sequential order of events and stimuli (Attout & Majerus, 2018). It’s a fundamental ... [more ▼]

Background – The retention of serial order information allows for the structured encoding and maintenance of the sequential order of events and stimuli (Attout & Majerus, 2018). It’s a fundamental component of working memory strongly associated with numerical and alphabetical abilities and critical for success in many different cognitive tasks. The codes used to represent serial order remain however poorly understood. Aims – By using a functional neuroimaging approach (fMRI), we assessed the hypothesis that serial order information is coded using domain general ordinal representations that support serial order coding also in other domains characterized by sequential processing such as numbers and letters. Methods – Twenty-five healthy young adults were invited to perform a set of four tasks in a 3T MRI scanner. The tasks were comprised of three ordinal judgement tasks (alphabetical, numerical and verbal working memory tasks) with further manipulation of ordinal distance effects, and a luminance comparison control task. Results – Multi-voxel pattern analyses (MVPA), both at the whole brain level and in regions-of-interest within the parietal cortex, revealed robust ordinal distance effects for all tasks as neural patterns associated with high versus small ordinal distances could be reliably identified within each task. Critically, MVPA further showed greater than-chance-level classification when predicting ordinal distance between tasks. Luminance distance in the control task could not be decoded by ordinal distance neural patterns, indicating that the results are specific to ordinal processing, and not to distance per se. Conclusion – These results provide support for theoretical accounts considering the existence of domain general serial order coding. [less ▲]

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See detailLANGUAGE CONTROL PROCESSES: DOMAIN GENERAL OR DOMAIN-SPECIFIC?
Attout, Lucie ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege

Conference (2019, September 26)

There remain major doubts about the nature and domain specificity of inhibitory control processes, both within and between cognitive domains. The present fMRI study assessed the neural substrates ... [more ▼]

There remain major doubts about the nature and domain specificity of inhibitory control processes, both within and between cognitive domains. The present fMRI study assessed the neural substrates associated with inhibitory control processes within in the language domain, by comparing phonological versus semantic control processes. Thirty-four elderly participants (59.6 ± 6.1 years old) performed phonological similarity and semantic similarity judgment tasks involving the inhibition of highly or weakly interfering stimuli. A direct contrast between the two task conditions revealed two distinct networks : a temporo-parietal network for phonological control and a temporo-frontal network for semantic control. Common activity was observed in a large dorsal attention network including bilaterally the insula. Moreover, multivariate voxel pattern analysis showed reliable decoding of neural patterns associated with high versus weak inhibitory control in both tasks. These results provide novel evidence for a dissociation between phonological and semantic language control processes. [less ▲]

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See detailNeural patterns in linguistic cortices discriminate the content of verbal working memory
Kowialiewski, Benjamin ULiege; Van Calster, Laurens ULiege; Attout, Lucie ULiege et al

Conference (2019, May 14)

Verbal working memory (WM) is characterized by the presence of psycholinguistic effects, whereby items associated with richer linguistic representations are usually better recalled, such as words vs ... [more ▼]

Verbal working memory (WM) is characterized by the presence of psycholinguistic effects, whereby items associated with richer linguistic representations are usually better recalled, such as words vs. nonwords (lexicality effect). This effect is accounted for by language-based models, assuming a direct and obligatory involvement of lexical linguistic knowledge at all stages of WM processing or by redintegration models considering that lexical linguistic knowledge only intervenes during post-memory trace reconstructive processes. We contrasted these two accounts in functional neuroimaging experiment by assessing to what extent and at what WM stage word and nonword memoranda can be distinguished based on their multivariate neural patterns in linguistic cortices. fMRI scans were obtained from 28 healthy young adult participants. The participants were invited to encode lists composed of word or nonword items presented at a very fast rate (2 items/s) and to maintain the items over a 6-second delay or not, followed by a probe recognition phase. Multivariate voxel pattern analyses successfully decoded word and nonword stimuli during the encoding phase in all conditions, as well as during the maintenance phase but only during the active maintenance condition. This study supports language-based WM models assuming continuous support of linguistic knowledge during all WM stages. [less ▲]

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See detailThe developmental neural substrates of item and serial order components of verbal working memory
Attout, Lucie ULiege; Ordonez Magro, Laura; Szmalec, Arnaud et al

in Human Brain Mapping (2019), 40

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See detailWorking memory for serial order and numerical cognition: What kind of association?
Majerus, Steve ULiege; Attout, Lucie ULiege

in Henik, Avishai; Fias, Wim (Eds.) Heterogeneity of Function in Numerical Cognition (2018)

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See detailLa dyscalculie développementale: à l’interface de l’orthophonie et de la neuropsychologie
Noël, Marie-Pascale; Attout, Lucie ULiege; Crollen, Virginie et al

in Roy, Arnaud; Guillery-Girard, Bérengère; Aubin, Ghislaine (Eds.) et al Neuropsychologie de l’enfant: Approches cliniques, modélisations théoriques et méthodes (2018)

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See detailThe effect of visual arrangement on visuospatial short-term memory: Insights from children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome
Attout, Lucie ULiege; Noël, Marie-Pascale; Rousselle, Laurence ULiege

in Cognitive Neuropsychology (2018), 35(7), 352-360

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See detailShort-and long-term memory determinants of novel word form learning
Ordonez Magro, Laura; Attout, Lucie ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege et al

in Cognitive Development (2018), 47

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See detailSerial order working memory and numerical ordinal processing share common processes and predict arithmetic abilities
Attout, Lucie ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege

in British Journal of Developmental Psychology (2018), 36

Recent studies have demonstrated that both ordinal number processing and serial order working memory (WM) abilities predict calculation achievement. This raises the question of shared ordinal processes ... [more ▼]

Recent studies have demonstrated that both ordinal number processing and serial order working memory (WM) abilities predict calculation achievement. This raises the question of shared ordinal processes operating in both numerical and WM domains. We explored this question by assessing the interrelations between numerical ordinal, serial order WM, and arithmetic abilities in 102 7- to 9-year-old children. We replicated previous studies showing that ordinal numerical judgement and serial order WM predict arithmetic abilities. Furthermore, we showed that ordinal numerical judgement abilities predict arithmetic abilities after controlling for serial order WM abilities while the relationship between serial order WM and arithmetic abilities was mediated by numerical ordinal judgement performance. We discuss these results in the light of recent theoretical frameworks considering that numerical ordinal codes support the coding of order information in verbal WM. [less ▲]

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See detailAltération de la mémoire à court terme dans la dyscalculie : un peu d’ordre
Attout, Lucie ULiege

Conference (2017, June 19)

Il semble plutôt évident que lorsque nous réalisons une opération arithmétique nous devons maintenir de manière temporaire le premier opérande en vue de l’utiliser ultérieurement ou encore maintenir ... [more ▼]

Il semble plutôt évident que lorsque nous réalisons une opération arithmétique nous devons maintenir de manière temporaire le premier opérande en vue de l’utiliser ultérieurement ou encore maintenir pendant un court laps de temps le résultat intermédiaire d’un calcul complexe. De la même façon, dans le comptage verbal, il est nécessaire de maintenir temporairement l’élément qui vient d’être compté afin de pouvoir déterminer l’élément suivant. Alors que la plupart des études s’accordent pour montrer un déficit de l’administrateur central chez des enfants présentant un trouble spécifique des apprentissages en mathématiques, l’altération de la mémoire à court terme (MCT) verbale et visuo-spatiale reste beaucoup plus discutée. Néanmoins, la plupart des recherches ayant exploré le lien entre MCT et dyscalculie développementale ne tiennent pas compte des récentes études comportementales, en neuroimagerie et des modélisations de la MCT distinguant le traitement de l’information « item » et « ordre » en MCT. Nous présenterons donc une série d’études dans le développement normal et atypique démontrant l’importance du traitement de l’ordre sériel en MCT dans le développement des habiletés mathématiques. Enfin, nous discuterons de la pertinence de la prise en charge des composants d’ordre sériel en MCT dans les troubles d’apprentissage des habiletés mathématiques. [less ▲]

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