Publications

The role of the basal ganglia in inflectional encoding: An fMRI study of producing the past tense

According to a prominent account of inflectional encoding (Pinker & Ullman, 2002), regular forms are encoded by a rule-governed combination of stems and affixes, whereas irregular forms are retrieved from memory while inhibiting rule application. Previous research has suggested that the basal ganglia play a role in rule …

Microstructural integrity of crucial white-matter tracts for category fluency in elderly with cerebral small vessel disease

Recent studies have suggested that language production abilities decline in patients with small vessel disease (SVD) a pathology that is one of the main contributors of cognitive impairment in older adults. The loss of microstructural integrity in multiple white-matter fiber pathways has been previously associated with cognitive …

Left temporal lobe language hubs – a comparative approach

The left temporal lobe is a major brain structure involved in language. Non-human primates, such as chimpanzees and bonobos, have language-like abilities and it has been argued that modifications to temporal lobe connectivity might have enabled semantic processing that later evolved into a highly complex language in humans. Previous …

Intracranial EEG evidence of semantic interference and phonological facilitation in spoken word production

Behavioral and classical electrophysiological methods (scalp EEG) provide important information about the timing of different processes involved in spoken word production, while functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) allows the localization of these mechanisms. However, these techniques do not allow for both spatial and …

Functional neuroanatomy of context-driven word retrieval: across-session consistency in fMRI

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is suitable for mapping the functional neuroanatomy of cognitive processes. However, mapping brain areas for specific tasks with fMRI does not necessarily guarantee validity, as activity profiles can vary across multiple measurements. Another difficulty is to capture temporally dynamic …

fMRI evidence for shared lemma representations in speech production and comprehension

On a prominent account, lemma representations map the meaning of words to their sounds and vice-versa, and are shared across production and comprehension (Levelt et al., 1999). A meta-analysis of word production studies suggests that lemmas are localised in the middle of the left middle temporal gyrus (left mMTG) (Indefrey, 2011; …

Do alpha and beta oscillations dissociate in context-driven spoken-word production?

Alpha- and beta-band oscillatory power decreases have been consistently found in spoken-word production, and localized to left lateral-temporal and lateral-frontal lobes (e.g., Piai et al., 2015; Roos & Piai, 2020). These oscillations have been linked to both motor preparation and conceptual and lexical retrieval processes (Piai …

Corpus callosum involvement in language ability after left-hemispheric stroke

The left hemisphere (LH) is dominant for language in the majority of the healthy population. Patients with LH-damage may show global right-hemisphere (RH) activity for language. This makes interhemispheric transfer a good candidate for a brain plasticity mechanism through which speaking abilities may recover. However, the brain …

A TMS investigation of left middle-MTG involvement in lemma access in speech production and comprehension

According to a prominent account, lemmas are abstract word representations that act as central relay hub for accessing conceptual, phonological, and syntactic representations linked to a word (Levelt et al., 1999). They are crucial for both speaking, accessing phonological representations from conceptual input, and listening, …

How the speed of word finding depends on ventral tract integrity in primary progressive aphasia

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a clinical neurodegenerative syndrome with word finding problems as a core clinical symptom. Many aspects of word finding have been clarified in psycholinguistics using picture naming and a picture-word interference (PWI) paradigm, which emulates naming under contextual noise. However, little is …

Long-term auditory processing outcomes in early implanted young adults with cochlear implants: the MMN vs. P300 response

Long-term outcomes of early implanted, young adult cochlear implant (CI) users remain variable. We measured auditory discrimination by means of event-related potentials in this population to examine whether variability at the level of cortical auditory processing helps to explain speech abilities. Using an auditory oddball paradigm, …

Lexical-semantic and executive deficits revealed by computational modelling: a drift diffusion model perspective

Flexible language use requires coordinated functioning of two systems: conceptual representations and control. The interaction between two systems can be observed when people are asked to matcha word to a picture. Participants are slower and less accurate for related word-picture pairs (word:banana, picture: apple) relative to …

Why we speak affects how we speak: electrophysiological signatures of word planning following verbal versus nonverbal material

It is unclear whether there are differences in the neural mechanisms of word planning when it arises after processing of verbal versus nonverbal material. Twenty participants took part in an EEG experiment where they completed verbal- and nonverbal-context picture-naming tasks. The goal in both tasks was to name a target picture that …

Semi-spontaneous language production in Dutch speaking people with primary progressive aphasia

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative language disorder. Despite recent research, this disorder is studied less than vascular aphasia. There are three main accepted variants: nonfluent/agrammatic PPA (nfv-PPA), semantic PPA (sv-PPA) and logopenic PPA (lv-PPA). Research that looks into the spontaneous language …

Lexical selection and the (pre)supplementary motor area white matter system

The supplementary and pre-supplementary motor areas (SMA and pre-SMA) has been suggested as involved in language processing since the early ages of electrical stimulation mapping. However they received far less attention in this sense than the classic, perisylvian areas. Recent updates in the neuroanatomy allowed to revisit the …

Across-session consistency of context-driven language processing: a magnetoencephalography study

Changes in brain organization following damage are commonly observed, but they remain poorly understood. These changes are often studied with imaging techniques that overlook the temporal granularity at which language processes occur. By contrast, electrophysiological measures provide excellent temporal resolution. To test the …

Language neuroplasticity in brain tumour patients revealed by magnetoencephalography

Language impairment in brain tumour patients may be missed since standardised tests fail to capture mild deficits. Neuroplasticity may also contribute to minimising language impairments. To address this possibility, we examined 14 patients with language dominant hemipsheric brain tumours prior to their first surgery using …

The lexical nature of alpha-beta oscillations in context-driven word production

In context-driven word production, picture naming is faster following constrained than neutral sentential contexts (e.g., “The farmer milked the… [picture]” vs. “The child drew a… [picture]”, followed by the picture of a cow), suggesting conceptual-lexical pre-activation of the target response. Power decreases in the alpha-beta …

The role of domain-general inhibition in inflectional encoding: Producing the past tense

According to a prominent account of inflectional encoding (Pinker, 1999; Pinker & Ullman, 2002b), regular forms are encoded by a rule-governed combination of stems and affixes, whereas irregular forms are retrieved from memory while inhibiting rule application. Sahin, Pinker, and Halgren (2006) suggested that this concerns a …

Electrocorticography reveals spatiotemporal neuronal activation patterns of verbal fluency in patients with epilepsy

Verbal fluency is commonly used to evaluate cognitive dysfunction in a variety of neuropsychiatric diseases, yet the neurobiology underlying performance of this task is incompletely understood. Electrocorticography (ECoG) provides a unique opportunity to investigate temporal activation patterns during cognitive tasks with high …

Transient perturbation of the left temporal cortex evokes plasticity-related reconfiguration of the lexical network

While much progress has been made in how brain organization supports language function, the language network’s ability to adapt to immediate disturbances by means of reorganization remains unclear. The aim of this study was to examine acute reorganizational changes in brain activity related to conceptual and lexical retrieval …

Cognitive and speech functioning in HNC: baseline prevalence and possible causes

Background.   The impact of treatment for head and neck cancer (HNC) on speech and cognitive functioning is well studied. Moreover, recent research has identified speech and cognitive deficits in HNC patients already prior to treatment, but this baseline cognitive impairment is poorly understood. Importantly, chronic alcohol intake …

Planning for language production: the electrophysiological signature of attention to the cue to speak

In conversation, speech planning can overlap with listening to the interlocutor. It has been postulated that once there is enough information to formulate a response, planning is initiated and the response is maintained in working memory. Concurrently, the auditory input is monitored for the turn end such that responses can be …

Speaking waves: neuronal oscillations in language production

Language production involves the retrieval of information from memory, the planning of an articulatory programme, and executive control and self-monitoring. These processes can be related to the domains of long-term memory, motor control, and executive control. Here, we argue that studying neuronal oscillations provides an important …

The functional neuroanatomy of the left temporal lobe white matter – an interdisciplinary approach based on intraoperative and comparative studies.

The left temporal lobe is claimed to be involved in language comprehension in both the classical (Wernicke, 1874) and contemporary dual-pathway models for language processing (Hickok & Poeppel, 2007, Roelofs, 2014), but the role of neuroanatomical subcomponents of this lobe in distinct facets of lexical-semantic processing has …

White-matter bottleneck in small vessel disease: A lesion-symptom mapping study of executive-language functions

Cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD), characterized by the presence of white matter lesions (WML), is among the main causes of vascular cognitive impairment. The most well-studied cognitive domains showing impairment in CSVD are executive functioning and processing speed, which are correlated with total WML volume. By contrast, the …

The role of ventral fiber pathways in healthy and disordered language production

While neuroimaging research on language production has traditionally focused primarily on grey matter, several recent studies highlight the involvement of ventral and dorsal white matter pathways. A debated issue concerns the exact functional role of these pathways. The ventral pathway has been suggested to underlie top-down control …

The role of the uncinate fasciculus and inferior longitudinal fasciculus in healthy and disordered language production

The frontal aslant white matter tract (FAT) and semantic selection in word production

The frontal aslant tract (FAT) is a white matter structure joining the anterior supplementary and pre-supplementary motor area (SMA and pre-SMA) to the inferior and middle frontal gyri. FAT shows leftward asymmetry (Catani et al., 2012), which suggests its role in language processing. Although previous studies showed the contribution …

Linking production and comprehension – Investigating the lexical interface

In a typical conversation, listening and speaking go hand in hand. However, we do not yet know what cognitive machinery and brain areas are shared between production and comprehension. It is believed that the lexical (lemma) and conceptual levels are shared between listening and speaking (Levelt et al., 1999). In this project, we …

Investigating the semantic control network and its structural decline in mild cognitive impairment and mild dementia

Although the episodic and semantic memory systems have long been studied separately, recent literature revealed shared neural substrates, including the medial temporal lobe (MTL). One important aspect of semantic memory is semantic control, which tailors automatic spreading activation during concept retrieval between highly related …

The AFTERCARE survey - The assessment and intervention survey for professionals working with individuals after brain surgery.

Previous European Low Grade Glioma Network (ELGGN) surveys provided the international community of professionals working with individuals harboring brain tumors with substantial information regarding common neuropsychological assessments (Mandonnet et al., 2017; Rofes et al., 2017), and plans for neuroradiological (Freyschlag et al., …

Investigating the Spatial and Temporal Components of Speech Production

The cognitive processes and neural mechanisms supporting language production have received considerably less research attention than those involved in language comprehension. This situation is partly attributable to the methodological challenges involved in acquiring electrophysiological and neuroimaging data during overt speech. …

Roles of ventral versus dorsal pathways in language production: An awake language mapping study

Human language is organized along two main processing streams connecting posterior temporal cortex and inferior frontal cortex in the left hemisphere, travelling dorsal and ventral to the Sylvian fissure. Some views propose a dorsal motor versus ventral semantic division. Others propose division by combinatorial mechanism, with the …

Assessment of Neurocognitive Impairment and Speech Functioning Before Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

We documented cognitive and speech functioning before treatment in individuals with head and neck cancer in a prospective cohort study. Results indicated a high prevalence of speech and cognitive impairment. Patient-reported speech and cognitive function were associated with each other, whereas objective cognitive measures were not associated with patient-reported measures.

Intracranial Electrophysiology in Language Research

Intracranial electrophysiological recording in humans has been a long-standing technique in neurosurgical treatment for epilepsy. Due to the clinical constraints as well as the necessity to map critical language sites prior to resection of tissue, electrode coverage often involves brain areas relevant for language function. This …

Heterozygous missense variants of LMX1A lead to nonsyndromic hearing impairment and vestibular dysfunction

Unraveling the causes and pathomechanisms of progressive disorders is essential for the development of therapeutic strategies. Here, we identified heterozygous pathogenic missense variants of LMX1A in two families of Dutch origin with progressive nonsyndromic hearing impairment (HI), using whole exome sequencing. One variant, …

Lexical selection with competing distractors: Evidence from left temporal lobe lesions

According to the competition account of lexical selection in word production, conceptually driven word retrieval involves the activation of a set of candidate words in left temporal cortex and competitive selection of the intended word from this set, regulated by frontal cortical mechanisms. However, the relative contribution of …

Voxel-based lesion analysis of brain regions underlying reading and writing

The neural basis of reading and writing has been a source of inquiry as well as controversy in the neuroscience literature. Reading has been associated with both left posterior ventral temporal zones (termed the “visual word form area”) as well as more dorsal zones, primarily in left parietal cortex. Writing has also been …

A valid alternative for in-person language assessments in brain tumor patients: feasibility and validity measures of the new TeleLanguage test

Background: Although language deficits after awake brain surgery are usually milder than post stroke, postoperative language assessments are needed to identify these. Follow-up of brain tumor patients in certain geographical regions can be difficult when most patients are not local and come from afar. We developed a short …

Awake Surgery for a Violin Player: Monitoring Motor and Music Performance, A Case Report

Objective: We report the case of a professional violin player who underwent an awake craniotomy to resect a tumour in the left supplementary motor area, an area involved in motor planning. Method: A careful pre- and intraoperative monitoring plan for music performance and complex motor function was established that could be used in …

Pre-articulatory electrical activity associated with correct naming in individuals with aphasia

Picture naming is a language task that involves multiple neural networks and is used to probe aphasia-induced language deficits. The pattern of neural activation seen in healthy individuals during picture naming is disrupted in individuals with aphasia, but the time-course of the disruption remains unclear. Specifically, it remains …

Lesion evidence for a critical role of left posterior but not frontal areas in alpha-beta power decreases during context-driven word production

Studies suggest that alpha–beta power decreases index word retrieval in context-driven word production. We recorded the electroencephalogram from patients with stroke lesions encompassing the left lateral-temporal and inferior-parietal regions or left lateral-frontal lobe. Results indicate a critical role for the left posterior, but not frontal cortex, in generating the alpha–beta power decreases underlying context‐driven word production.

Human hippocampal pre-activation predicts behavior

The response to an upcoming salient event is accelerated when the event is expected given the preceding events i.e. a temporal context effect. For example, naming a picture following a strongly constraining temporal context is faster than naming a picture after a weakly constraining temporal context. We used sentences as …

Distributional analysis of semantic interference in picture naming

In picture-word interference experiments, participants name pictures (e.g., of a cat) while trying to ignore distractor words. Mean response time (RT) is typically longer with semantically related distractor words (e.g., dog) than with unrelated words (e.g., shoe), called semantic interference. Previous research has examined the RT …

Neuroplasticity of language in left-hemisphere stroke: evidence linking subsecond electrophysiology and structural connections

Our understanding of neuroplasticity following stroke is predominantly based on neuroimaging measures that cannot address the subsecond neurodynamics of impaired language processing. We combined behavioral and electrophysiological measures and structural-connectivity estimates to characterize neuroplasticity underlying successful …

Direct brain recordings reveal hippocampal rhythm underpinnings of language processing

Language is typically studied in isolation from memory. We demonstrate that the same neuronal computations used by the hippocampus for memory also subserve online language usage. These findings represent a major step in integrating the studies of language and memory, significantly expanding the role of hippocampal theta oscillations.

Lesions to Lateral Prefrontal Cortex Impair Lexical Interference Control in Word Production

Speaking is an action that requires control, for example, to prevent interference from distracting or competing information present in the speaker’s environment. Control over task performance is thought to depend on the lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC). However, the neuroimaging literature does not show a consistent relation …

The role of electrophysiology in informing theories of word production: a critical standpoint

Munding, Dubarry, and Alario (this issue) courageously and thoroughly summarise the MEG literature on word production. It is evident that their task was a real undertaking and word production researchers should applaud their efforts. In this commentary, I raise a few issues that are inspired by their report. These comments are not …

The electrophysiology of language production: what could be improved

Recently, the field of spoken-word production has seen an increasing interest in the use of the electroencephalogram (EEG), mainly for event-related potentials (ERPs). These are exciting times to be a language production researcher. However, no matter how much we would like our results to speak to our theories, they can only do so if …

Electrophysiology of cross-language interference and facilitation in picture naming

Disagreement exists about how bilingual speakers select words, in particular, whether words in another language compete, or competition is restricted to a target language, or no competition occurs. Evidence that competition occurs but is restricted to a target language comes from response time (RT) effects obtained when speakers name …

Withholding planned speech is reflected in synchronized beta-band oscillations

When engaged in a conversation, speakers sometimes have to withhold a planned response, for example, before it is their turn to speak. In the present study, using magnetoencephalography (MEG) outside of a conversational setting, we investigate the oscillatory brain mechanisms involved in the process of withholding a planned verbal …

Semantic interference in picture naming during dual-task performance does not vary with reading ability

Previous dual-task studies examining the locus of semantic interference of distractor words in picture naming have obtained diverging results. In these studies, participants manually responded to tones and named pictures while ignoring distractor words (picture-word interference, PWI) with varying stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) …

Beta oscillations reflect memory and motor aspects of spoken word production

Two major components form the basis of spoken word production: the access of conceptual and lexical/phonological information in long-term memory, and motor preparation and execution of an articulatory programme. Whereas the motor aspects of word production have been well characterised as reflected in alpha-beta desynchronisation, the …

Task choice and semantic interference in picture naming

Evidence from dual-task performance indicates that speakers prefer not to select simultaneous responses in picture naming and another unrelated task, suggesting a response selection bottleneck in naming. In particular, when participants respond to tones with a manual response and name pictures with superimposed semantically related …

Aspects of competition in word production: Reply to Mahon and Navarrete

A hotly debated issue concerning spoken word production is whether lexical selection is by competition or not. Recently, Mahon, Garcea, and Navarrete (2012) claimed that associative facilitation from color-related words in the Stroop task challenges lexical competition accounts of word production, such as implemented in the WEAVER++ …

Statistically comparing EEG/MEG waveforms through successive significant univariate tests: How bad can it be?

When making statistical comparisons, the temporal dimension of the EEG signal introduces problems. Guthrie and Buchwald (1991) proposed a formally correct statistical approach that deals with these problems: comparing waveforms by counting the number of successive significant univariate tests and then contrasting this number to a …

Distinct Patterns of Brain Activity Characterise Lexical Activation and Competition in Spoken Word Production

According to a prominent theory of language production, concepts activate multiple associated words in memory, which enter into competition for selection. However, only a few electrophysiological studies have identified brain responses reflecting competition. Here, we report a magnetoencephalography study in which the activation of …

Locus of semantic interference in picture naming: Evidence from dual-task performance

Disagreement exists regarding the functional locus of semantic interference of distractor words in picture naming. This effect is a cornerstone of modern psycholinguistic models of word production, which assume that it arises in lexical response-selection. However, recent evidence from studies of dual-task performance suggests a …

Attention for speaking: domain-general control from the anterior cingulate cortex in spoken word production

Accumulating evidence suggests that some degree of attentional control is required to regulate and monitor processes underlying speaking. Although progress has been made in delineating the neural substrates of the core language processes involved in speaking, substrates associated with regulatory and monitoring processes have …

Oscillatory brain responses in spoken word production reflect lexical frequency and sentential constraint

Two fundamental factors affecting the speed of spoken word production are lexical frequency and sentential constraint, but little is known about their timing and electrophysiological basis. In the present study, we investigated event-related potentials (ERPs) and oscillatory brain responses induced by these factors, using a task in …

Sit down and read on: Working memory and long-term memory in particle-verb processing

Particle verbs (e.g., look up) are lexical items for which particle and verb share a single lexical entry. Using event-related brain potentials, we examined working memory and longterm memory involvement in particle-verb processing. Dutch participants read sentences with head verbs that allow zero, two, or more than five particles to …

Associative facilitation in the Stroop task: Comment on Mahon et al. (2012)

A fundamental issue in psycholinguistics concerns how speakers retrieve intended words from long-term memory. According to a selection-by-competition account (e.g., Levelt, Roelofs, and Meyer, 1999), conceptually driven word retrieval involves the activation of a set of candidate words and a competitive selection of the intended word …

Selection by competition in word production: Rejoinder to Janssen (2013)

Roelofs, Piai, and Schriefers argue that several findings on the effect of distractor words and pictures in producing words support a selection-by-competition account and challenge a non-competitive response-exclusion account. Janssen argues that the findings do not challenge response exclusion, and he conjectures that both …

Working memory capacity and dual-task interference in picture naming

Researchers have found no agreement on whether dual-task interference in language performance, such as dual-task interference from tone discrimination on picture naming, reflects passive queuing or active scheduling of processes for each task. According to a passive-queuing account, while a central response-selection bottleneck is …

Distractor strength and selective attention in picture-naming performance

Whereas it has long been assumed that competition plays a role in lexical selection in word production (e.g., Levelt, Roelofs, & Meyer, 1999), recently Finkbeiner and Caramazza (2006) argued against the competition assumption on the basis of their observation that visible distractors yield semantic interference in picture naming, …

Event-related potentials and oscillatory brain responses associated with semantic and Stroop-like interference effects in overt naming

Pictureword interference is a widely employed paradigm to investigate lexical access in word production: Speakers name pictures while trying to ignore superimposed distractor words. The distractor can be congruent to the picture (pictured cat, word cat), categorically related (pictured cat, word dog), or unrelated (pictured cat, word …

Context effects and selective attention in picture naming and word reading: Competition versus response exclusion

For several decades, context effects in picture naming and word reading have been extensively investigated. However, researchers have found no agreement on the explanation of the effects. Whereas it has long been assumed that several types of effect reflect competition in word selection (e.g., Levelt, Roelofs, & Meyer, 1999), …

Attention demands of spoken word planning: a review

Attention and language are among the most intensively researched abilities in the cognitive neurosciences, but the relation between these abilities has largely been neglected.There is increasing evidence, however, that linguistic processes, such as those underlying the planning of words, cannot proceed without paying some form of …

Attentional Inhibition in Bilingual Naming Performance: Evidence from Delta-Plot Analyses

It has been argued that inhibition is a mechanism of attentional control in bilingual language performance. Evidence suggests that effects of inhibition are largest in the tail of a response time (RT) distribution in non-linguistic and monolingual performance domains. We examined this for bilingual performance by conducting …

Selective attention and distractor frequency in naming performance: Comment on Dhooge and Hartsuiker (2010)

E. Dhooge and R. J. Hartsuiker (2010) reported experiments showing that picture naming takes longer with low- than high-frequency distractor words, replicating M. Miozzo and A. Caramazza (2003). In addition, they showed that this distractor-frequency effect disappears when distractors are masked or preexposed. These fmdings were …

Semantic interference in immediate and delayed naming and reading: Attention and task decisions

Disagreement exists about whether lexical selection in word production is a competitive process. Competition predicts semantic interference from distractor words in immediate but not in delayed picture naming. In contrast, Janssen, Schirm, Mahon, and Caramazza (2008) obtained semantic interference in delayed picture naming when …