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 memory aspects have remained poorly understood. Using magnetoencephalography, we investigated the neurophysiological signature of not only motor but also memory aspects of spoken-word production. Participants named or judged pictures after reading sentences. To probe the involvement of the memory component, we manipulated sentence context. Sentence contexts were either constraining or nonconstraining towards the final word, presented as a picture. In the judgement task, participants indicated with a left-hand button press whether the picture was expected given the sentence. In the naming task, they named the picture. Naming and judgement were faster with constraining than nonconstraining contexts. Alpha-beta desynchronisation was found for constraining relative to nonconstraining contexts pre-picture presentation. For the judgement task, beta desynchronisation was observed in left posterior brain areas associated with conceptual processing and in right motor cortex. For the naming task, in addition to the same left posterior brain areas, beta desynchronisation was found in left anterior and posterior temporal cortex (associated with memory aspects), left inferior frontal cortex, and bilateral ventral premotor cortex (associated with motor aspects). These results suggest that memory and motor components of spoken word production are reflected in overlapping brain oscillations in the beta band.

In: Human Brain Mapping, 36 (7), 2767-2780

Rejection history:

Journal Outcome Reason
NeuroImage Desk rejected Results were not strong enough