Reversing spoken items-mind twisting not tongue twisting

Research Area: Research Year: 2005
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Rudner, M; Rönnberg, J; Hugdahl, Kenneth
Using 12 participants we conducted an fMRI study involving two tasks, word reversal and rhyme judgment, based on pairs of natural speech stimuli, to study the neural correlates of manipulating auditory imagery under taxing conditions. Both tasks engaged the left anterior superior temporal gyrus, reflecting previously established perceptual mechanisms. Engagement of the left inferior frontal gyrus in both tasks relative to baseline could only be revealed by applying small volume corrections to the region of interest, suggesting that phonological segmentation played only a minor role and providing further support for factorial dissociation of rhyming and segmentation in phonological awareness. Most importantly, subtraction of rhyme judgment from word reversal revealed activation of the parietal lobes bilaterally and the right inferior frontal cortex, suggesting that the dynamic manipulation of auditory imagery involved in mental reversal of words seems to engage mechanisms similar to those involved in visuospatial working memory and mental rotation. This suggests that reversing spoken items is a matter of mind twisting rather than tongue twisting and provides support for a link between language processing and manipulation of mental imagery.
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