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Core networks for visual-concrete and abstract thought content: a brain electric microstate analysis


Lehmann, D; Pascual-Marqui, R D; Strik, W K; Koenig, T (2010). Core networks for visual-concrete and abstract thought content: a brain electric microstate analysis. NeuroImage, 49(1):1073-1079.

Abstract

Commonality of activation of spontaneously forming and stimulus-induced mental representations is an often made but rarely tested assumption in neuroscience. In a conjunction analysis of two earlier studies, brain electric activity during visual-concrete and abstract thoughts was studied. The conditions were: in study 1, spontaneous stimulus-independent thinking (post-hoc, visual imagery or abstract thought were identified); in study 2, reading of single nouns ranking high or low on a visual imagery scale. In both studies, subjects' tasks were similar: when prompted, they had to recall the last thought (study 1) or the last word (study 2). In both studies, subjects had no instruction to classify or to visually imagine their thoughts, and accordingly were not aware of the studies' aim. Brain electric data were analyzed into functional topographic brain images (using LORETA) of the last microstate before the prompt (study 1) and of the word-type discriminating event-related microstate after word onset (study 2). Conjunction analysis across the two studies yielded commonality of activation of core networks for abstract thought content in left anterior superior regions, and for visual-concrete thought content in right temporal-posterior inferior regions. The results suggest that two different core networks are automatedly activated when abstract or visual-concrete information, respectively, enters working memory, without a subject task or instruction about the two classes of information, and regardless of internal or external origin, and of input modality. These core machineries of working memory thus are invariant to source or modality of input when treating the two types of information.

Commonality of activation of spontaneously forming and stimulus-induced mental representations is an often made but rarely tested assumption in neuroscience. In a conjunction analysis of two earlier studies, brain electric activity during visual-concrete and abstract thoughts was studied. The conditions were: in study 1, spontaneous stimulus-independent thinking (post-hoc, visual imagery or abstract thought were identified); in study 2, reading of single nouns ranking high or low on a visual imagery scale. In both studies, subjects' tasks were similar: when prompted, they had to recall the last thought (study 1) or the last word (study 2). In both studies, subjects had no instruction to classify or to visually imagine their thoughts, and accordingly were not aware of the studies' aim. Brain electric data were analyzed into functional topographic brain images (using LORETA) of the last microstate before the prompt (study 1) and of the word-type discriminating event-related microstate after word onset (study 2). Conjunction analysis across the two studies yielded commonality of activation of core networks for abstract thought content in left anterior superior regions, and for visual-concrete thought content in right temporal-posterior inferior regions. The results suggest that two different core networks are automatedly activated when abstract or visual-concrete information, respectively, enters working memory, without a subject task or instruction about the two classes of information, and regardless of internal or external origin, and of input modality. These core machineries of working memory thus are invariant to source or modality of input when treating the two types of information.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > The KEY Institute for Brain-Mind Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:26 Jan 2010 16:02
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:37
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8119
Additional Information:Epub 2009 Jul 29
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.07.054
PubMed ID:19646538
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-25372

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