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See detailVerbal Working Memory but Not Attention Is Related to Language Proficiency: Evidence from Multilingual Speakers
Bouffier, Marion ULiege; Barbu, Cristina ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege

in Psychologica Belgica (2020), 60(1), 270-293

Numerous studies have shown a consistent relationship between verbal working memory (WM) and native-language as well as non-native language learning abilities. However, the role of attentional abilities ... [more ▼]

Numerous studies have shown a consistent relationship between verbal working memory (WM) and native-language as well as non-native language learning abilities. However, the role of attentional abilities has been rarely explored, although these abilities have been shown to be associated both with verbal working memory and oral language proficiency. This study investigated the association between WM, attention and language proficiency in young adults raised with three different languages (Luxembourgish, German and French). Auditory-verbal WM abilities were assessed via an immediate serial recall task. Attentional abilities were assessed via auditory-verbal and visuo-spatial attentional tasks. Using a Bayesian correlational approach, we observed robust evidence for an association between auditory-verbal WM abilities and non-native language proficiency. At the same time, we observed no reliable evidence in favor of an association between language proficiency and auditory-verbal/visuo-spatial attentional measures. These results suggest that auditory-verbal WM and non-native language proficiency are strongly linked in young multilingual adults, irrespective of auditory-verbal or visuo-spatial attentional abilities. [less ▲]

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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 detailIs inhibition in working memory domain-general? A study of age-related decline in cross-domain inhibitory abilities
Gregoire, Coline ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege

Conference (2020, September 02)

The unitary versus non-unitary nature of inhibitory control in working memory remains an open question: does inhibitory control deficit (i.e. to inhibit irrelevant information) appearing during aging ... [more ▼]

The unitary versus non-unitary nature of inhibitory control in working memory remains an open question: does inhibitory control deficit (i.e. to inhibit irrelevant information) appearing during aging concern all domains (language or visual information, etc.) or are they more important in certain areas (language) than others (visual information)? This study examines the specificity of inhibitory control by investigating the age-related decline in inhibitory abilities across several domains (visual, phonological and semantic) in an immediate target-probe matching task. 129 young adults (20-40 years old) and 130 elderly adults (60-80 years old) where presented two target stimuli and two probe stimuli (visual symbols, words or nonwords); they had to select the probe stimulus that was the most similar to both target stimuli based on visual, semantic or phonological similarity. In the inhibition condition, the wrong probe stimulus was pre-activated via a prime stimulus briefly occurring before the presentation of the target stimuli and thus had to be inhibited for correct response selection; in the facilitation condition, the correct probe stimulus was preactivated. An interference score was calculated by subtracting performance between the two conditions, for each stimulus domain. We observed that interference effects were overall larger in the elderly adults as compared to the young adult group. At the same time, there was decisive Bayesian evidence for an interaction between age group and stimulus domain, with particularly increased interference effects in the elderly group for the semantic and visual conditions. These results suggest domain general inhibition impairment at least for semantic and visual conditions in healthy aging. Differences in task sensitivity may account for the lesser inhibition impairment in the phonological domain. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude des liens entre les troubles du langage et les troubles cognitifs dans la maladie de Parkinson
WIOT, Nathalie ULiege; PIERROT, Mathilde; KAUX, Jean-François ULiege et al

Poster (2020, May 29)

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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 detailInvestigation multimodale des capacités d’inhibition dans le vieillissement
Gregoire, Coline ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege

Conference (2020, May 29)

INTRODUCTION. Le caractère unitaire versus non-unitaire des capacités d’inhibition demeure une question non résolue: les difficultés d’inhibition apparaissant au cours du vieillissement concernent-elles ... [more ▼]

INTRODUCTION. Le caractère unitaire versus non-unitaire des capacités d’inhibition demeure une question non résolue: les difficultés d’inhibition apparaissant au cours du vieillissement concernent-elles tous les domaines (informations langagières, visuelles,…) ou sont-elles plus importantes dans certains domaines (langage) que d’autres (informations visuelles) ? Cette étude examine la nature des capacités d’inhibition en étudiant les capacités d’inhibition à travers trois domaines (visuel, sémantique, phonologique) via un paradigme de mémoire à court-terme, et ceci auprès de sujets adultes jeunes et âgés. METHODOLOGIE. 24 adultes jeunes (20-40 ans) et 24 adultes âgés (60-80 ans) réalisaient une tâche d’inhibition consistant à mémoriser des séries de 4 informations (verbales ou visuelles) et ensuite à décider si un item-test faisait bien partie des informations à mémoriser ; les items-tests à rejeter sont soit des items « neutres » qui ne sont pas présents dans liste, soit des items très proches d’un des 4 stimuli-cibles au niveau phonologique (e.g. dessert-désert), sémantique (e.g. lettre-timbre) ou visuel (e.g. -) dans la liste à mémoriser (essais « inhibition »). RESULTATS. Le coût de l’inhibition était calculé en soustrayant les performances moyennes (temps de réponse (TR), réponses correctes (RC)) pour les essais « neutres » à celles des essais « inhibition », et ceci de manière séparée pour les essais visuels, phonologiques et sémantiques. A l’aide de statistiques à inférence bayésienne, nous avons observé que les adultes âgés présentaient des capacités d’inhibition réduites dans la condition phonologique (RC, BF10 = 45,44 ; TR, BF10 = 0,52) par rapport aux adultes jeunes tandis qu’ils présentaient un coût d’inhibition similaire à celui des jeunes dans les modalités sémantique (RC, BF10 = 0,38; TR, BF10 = 0,37) et visuelle (RC, BF10 = 0.29 ; TR, BF10 = 0,96). Ces résultats ne peuvent pas être expliqués par des déficits auditifs ou de perception phonologique, les deux groupes ne différant pas pour une tâche de répétition de non-mots (BF01=3,40). CONCLUSION. Ces résultats rejoignent ceux d’études précédentes mettant en évidence un déficit d’inhibition verbale chez les adultes âgés par rapport aux adultes jeunes. Cependant, ce déficit semble être spécifique à la modalité phonologique et n’apparait pas pour d’autres informations verbales (sémantiques) ni pour des informations non-langagières alors qu’exactement le même type de tâche a été utilisé pour les trois types d’informations. Les adultes âgés présentent donc un coût d’inhibition plus important que les adultes jeunes lorsqu’ils doivent spécifiquement traiter l’information phonologique, remettant en question l’existence d’un déficit inhibiteur plus général dans le vieillissement normal. Références : Collette, F., & Salmon, E. (2014). Les modifications du fonctionnement exécutif dans le vieillissement normal. Psychologie française, 59(1), 41-58. Guerreiro, M. J., Murphy, D. R., & Van Gerven, P. W. (2010). The role of sensory modality in age-related distraction: a critical review and a renewed view. Psychological bulletin, 136(6), 975. Hamilton, A. C., & Martin, R. C. (2007). Proactive interference in a semantic short-term memory deficit: Role of semantic and phonological relatedness. Cortex, 43(1), 112-123. [less ▲]

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See detailEffet du vieillissement sur l’inhibition visuelle : Exploration à travers une tâche de MCT incluant des similitudes visuelles
Kerhardy, Nolwenn; Gregoire, Coline ULiege; Fay, Séverine et al

Poster (2020, May 28)

INTRODUCTION. L’évolution de la capacité à maintenir des informations visuelles pendant un court laps de temps (i.e. en mémoire à court terme, MCT) dans le vieillissement reste complexe à étudier. Cette ... [more ▼]

INTRODUCTION. L’évolution de la capacité à maintenir des informations visuelles pendant un court laps de temps (i.e. en mémoire à court terme, MCT) dans le vieillissement reste complexe à étudier. Cette difficulté réside principalement dans ses liens étroits avec l’inhibition requise pour maintenir, stocker et discriminer des informations visuelles. En effet, l’inhibition est un processus essentiel à la régulation et à la suppression des informations visuelles qui ne sont pas utiles pour une action en cours (e.g. la conduite automobile). Cette étude visait donc à mieux comprendre les effets de l’âge sur la capacité à reconnaitre sur une courte période, des informations visuelles comme déjà rencontrées ou non lorsque celles-ci sont visuellement proches. Nous nous attendions à des performances plus faibles lorsque la proximité visuelle entre des éléments était plus élevée, et d’autant plus pour des participants âgés du fait d’un déclin des capacités d’inhibition avec l’âge. METHODE. 24 adultes jeunes (20-40 ans) et 24 adultes âgés (60-80 ans) ont réalisé une tâche de reconnaissance en MCT visuelle. Les participants ont mémorisé des séries de 4 figures. A la fin de chaque série, une figure-test était présentée et les sujets devaient décider le plus rapidement possible si elle faisait partie des 4 figures mémorisées ou non. 30 essais négatifs étaient présentés où les figures-test négatives étaient très proches de la figure-cible (-) recrutant ainsi des processus d’inhibition pour leur rejet correct. Par ailleurs, 30 essais négatifs neutres (e.g. -) et 30 essais positifs (e.g. ►- ►, items à reconnaître) étaient également présentés. Tous les participants ont aussi réalisé le STROOP afin de mesurer leurs capacités d’inhibition. RESULTATS. Une première analyse de variance portant sur les essais positifs a montré un effet significatif du groupe d’âge, les adultes âgés ayant plus de difficultés que les jeunes à reconnaître une figure comme identique à une autre. Une seconde analyse de variance portant sur les essais négatifs a montré que les essais neutres étaient mieux réussis que les essais avec inhibition : les participants arrivaient à mieux rejeter la figure-test lorsqu’elle était totalement différente de la cible (i.e. essais neutres) que lorsqu’elle en était proche (i.e. essais avec inhibition), indiquant que les similitudes visuelles ont créé des interférences en mémoire auxquelles les participants sont sensibles. Cependant, les adultes âgés n’étaient globalement pas moins performants et pas plus affectés par ces interférences que les jeunes, bien que les résultats aient mis en évidence un effet délétère de l’âge sur les capacités d’inhibition au STROOP. Par ailleurs, les capacités d’inhibition des participants étaient corrélées positivement à leurs performances aux essais positifs et aux essais négatifs avec inhibition mais pas aux essais négatifs neutres. Ainsi, dans ce protocole, les capacités d’inhibition apparaissent déterminantes pour reconnaitre des figures identiques et pour rejeter des figures proches. Les effets d’âge spécifiques aux essais positifs suggèrent l’utilisation par les participants âgés, d’une stratégie plus conservatrice que les jeunes visant à rejeter la figure lorsqu’ils ne sont pas sûrs de l’avoir rencontré. [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 detailInvestigation of visual and verbal inhibition in aging within a similarity-judgement task
Van Akelyen, Dylan ULiege; Gregoire, Coline ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege

Poster (2020, May 27)

Inhibition is a central component of executive control that allows us to focus on target stimuli and to ignore non-target stimuli. Aging has been associated with reduced inhibitory abilities, but data are ... [more ▼]

Inhibition is a central component of executive control that allows us to focus on target stimuli and to ignore non-target stimuli. Aging has been associated with reduced inhibitory abilities, but data are contradictory as regards the domain-specificity versus generality of this impairment. The aim of this study was to conduct a comprehensive assessment of inhibitory abilities in aging by focusing on visual and verbal domains (phonological and semantic modalities). A similarity judgement task was administered in all three modalities to thirty young (20-40) and thirty elderly (60-80) adults. Participants had to judge which item out of two was the most similar to two target items. In the facilitation condition, the correct test item was preactivated via a prime appearing briefly before the trial; in the inhibition condition, the prime preactivated the wrong test item which then had to be inhibited for selection of the correct test item. An inhibition score was calculated by subtracting the performance in the inhibition condition from the facilitation condition (for correct responses and reaction times) For correct responses, we observed that the inhibition score was larger in the elderly vs. young group in each of the three modalities. For response times, the inhibition score was larger in the elderly group for the visual and semantic modalities but not phonological modality, meaning that they had more difficulties to inhibit the wrongly primed item. These results confirm inhibitory impairment in healthy aging, in a manner that appears to be rather domain-general (in verbal and visual domains). [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 detailBrain metabolism but not grey matter volume underlies the presence of language function in the minimally conscious state
Aubinet, Charlène ULiege; Cassol, Helena ULiege; Gosseries, Olivia ULiege et al

in Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair (2020), 34(2), 172-184

Background. The minimally conscious state (MCS) is subcategorized into MCS- and MCS+, depending on the absence or presence of high-level behavioral responses such as command following. Objective. We aim ... [more ▼]

Background. The minimally conscious state (MCS) is subcategorized into MCS- and MCS+, depending on the absence or presence of high-level behavioral responses such as command following. Objective. We aim to investigate the functional and structural neuroanatomy underlying the presence of these responses in MCS- and MCS+ patients. Methods. In this cross-sectional retrospective study, chronic MCS patients were diagnosed using repeated Coma Recovery Scale-Revised assessments. Fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography data were acquired on 57 patients (16 MCS-; 41 MCS+) and magnetic resonance imaging with voxel-based morphometry analysis was performed on 66 patients (17 MCS-; 49 MCS+). Brain glucose metabolism and grey matter integrity were compared between patient groups and control groups. A metabolic functional connectivity analysis testing the hypothesis of preserved language network in MCS+ compared to MCS- was also done. Results. Patients in MCS+ presented higher metabolism mainly in the left middle temporal cortex, known to be important for semantic processing, compared to the MCS- group. The left angular gyrus was also functionally disconnected from the left prefrontal cortex in MCS- compared to MCS+. No significant differences were found in grey matter volume between patient groups. Conclusions. The clinical sub-categorization of MCS is supported by differences in brain metabolism but not in grey matter structure, suggesting that brain function in the language network is the main support for recovery of command-following, intelligible verbalization and/or intentional communication in the MCS. Better characterizing the neural correlates of residual cognitive abilities of MCS patients contributes to reduce their misdiagnosis and to adapt therapeutic approaches. [less ▲]

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See detailWhen one-two-three beats two-one-three: Tracking the acquisition of the verbal number sequence
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Schiltz, Christine; Majerus, Steve ULiege et al

in Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society (2020), 27

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See detailBrain Metabolism but Not Gray Matter Volume Underlies the Presence of Language Function in the Minimally Conscious State (MCS): MCS+ Versus MCS− Neuroimaging Differences
Aubinet, Charlène ULiege; Cassol, Helena ULiege; Gosseries, Olivia ULiege et al

in Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair (2020), 34(2), 172-184

Background. The minimally conscious state (MCS) is subcategorized into MCS− and MCS+, depending on the absence or presence, respectively, of high-level behavioral responses such as command-following ... [more ▼]

Background. The minimally conscious state (MCS) is subcategorized into MCS− and MCS+, depending on the absence or presence, respectively, of high-level behavioral responses such as command-following. Objective. We aim to investigate the functional and structural neuroanatomy underlying the presence of these responses in MCS− and MCS+ patients. Methods. In this cross-sectional retrospective study, chronic MCS patients were diagnosed using repeated Coma Recovery Scale–Revised assessments. Fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography data were acquired on 57 patients (16 MCS−; 41 MCS+) and magnetic resonance imaging with voxel-based morphometry analysis was performed on 66 patients (17 MCS−; 49 MCS+). Brain glucose metabolism and gray matter integrity were compared between patient groups and control groups. A metabolic functional connectivity analysis testing the hypothesis of preserved language network in MCS+ compared with MCS− was also done. Results. Patients in MCS+ presented higher metabolism mainly in the left middle temporal cortex, known to be important for semantic processing, compared with the MCS− group. The left angular gyrus was also functionally disconnected from the left prefrontal cortex in MCS− compared with MCS+ group. No significant differences were found in gray matter volume between patient groups. Conclusions. The clinical subcategorization of MCS is supported by differences in brain metabolism but not in gray matter structure, suggesting that brain function in the language network is the main support for recovery of command-following, intelligible verbalization and/or intentional communication in the MCS. Better characterizing the neural correlates of residual cognitive abilities of MCS patients contributes to reduce their misdiagnosis and to adapt therapeutic approaches. © The Author(s) 2020. [less ▲]

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See detailThe varying nature of semantic effects in working memory
Kowialiewski, Benjamin ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege

in Cognition (2020)

Several studies have demonstrated an influence of semantic knowledge on verbal working memory (WM) performance, such as shown by the observation of semantic relatedness (related vs. unrelated words) and ... [more ▼]

Several studies have demonstrated an influence of semantic knowledge on verbal working memory (WM) performance, such as shown by the observation of semantic relatedness (related vs. unrelated words) and word imageability (high vs. low imageability words) effects in working memory. The present study extends these observations by examining in four experiments the extent to which semantic knowledge can protect WM representations against interference. We assessed immediate serial recall performance for semantically related vs. unrelated word lists and for high vs. low imageability word lists, with memory lists being followed by an interfering task after encoding or not. Results show that semantic relatedness leads to a stronger protective effect against interference than word imageability at the item level. Furthermore, the semantic relatedness had a stronger impact on WM performance than word imageability; this was further supported by a meta-analysis of all relevant studies in the field. These results suggest that inter-item associative semantic knowledge can protect WM content against interference, but less so item-level semantic knowledge. This protective effect may result from between-item recurrent reactivation or from reduced cognitive load via the compression of memoranda into conceptual units, as further supported by a series of computational simulations. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation de la précision de la mémoire de travail phonologique dans une population bilingue
Bouffier, Marion ULiege; Majerus, Steve ULiege

Conference (2019, December 10)

La précision de la mémoire de travail (MT) auditivo-verbale, définie comme la résolution avec laquelle les représentations langagières sont stockées en MT, ainsi que la variation des niveaux de précision ... [more ▼]

La précision de la mémoire de travail (MT) auditivo-verbale, définie comme la résolution avec laquelle les représentations langagières sont stockées en MT, ainsi que la variation des niveaux de précision en fonction de la maîtrise langagière, sont des aspects fondamentaux mais peu étudiés de la MT. Notre étude visait à évaluer la précision de la MT dans la première (L1) et deuxième (L2) langue de sujets bilingues à l’aide d’un gradient de similarité phonologique dans une tâche de reconnaissance à court terme. Nous avons recruté deux groupes incluant chacun 25 participants bilingues français-anglais, ayant comme L1 le français ou l’anglais. Des listes de mots étaient présentées auditivement, et à l’issue de chaque liste, un mot-test était présenté ; les participants devaient alors déterminer si ce mot avait été présent dans la liste. Les items-tests négatifs partageaient des niveaux de similarité phonologique variables avec un mot-cible de la liste (25% - 75% de similarité). La tâche était réalisée en L1 et en L2. La précision a été évaluée en comparant la condition phonologiquement la plus similaire aux autres conditions. Bien que le taux de fausses alarmes était globalement plus élevé dans la condition de forte similarité, les performances ne chutaient pas plus quand la tâche était réalisée en L2. Ces résultats suggèrent que la précision du codage en MT verbale est similaire en L1 et en L2, du moins lorsque les deux langues présentent un niveau de maîtrise comparable. [less ▲]

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