3 years ago

Increased functional connectivity in the ventral and dorsal streams during retrieval of novel words in professional musicians

Stefan Elmer, Mireille Besson, Lutz Jäncke, Eva Dittinger, Seyed Abolfazl Valizadeh
Current models of speech and language processing postulate the involvement of two parallel processing streams (the dual stream model): a ventral stream involved in mapping sensory and phonological representations onto lexical and conceptual representations and a dorsal stream contributing to sound-to-motor mapping, articulation, and to how verbal information is encoded and manipulated in memory. Based on previous evidence showing that music training has an influence on language processing, cognitive functions, and word learning, we examined EEG-based intracranial functional connectivity in the ventral and dorsal streams while musicians and nonmusicians learned the meaning of novel words through picture–word associations. In accordance with the dual stream model, word learning was generally associated with increased beta functional connectivity in the ventral stream compared to the dorsal stream. In addition, in the linguistically most demanding “semantic task,” musicians outperformed nonmusicians, and this behavioral advantage was accompanied by increased left-hemispheric theta connectivity in both streams. Moreover, theta coherence in the left dorsal pathway was positively correlated with the number of years of music training. These results provide evidence for a complex interplay within a network of brain regions involved in semantic processing and verbal memory functions, and suggest that intensive music training can modify its functional architecture leading to advantages in novel word learning.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23877

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