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Differences between Patterns of Brain Activity Associated with Semantics and Those Linked with Phonological Processing Diminish with Age

Authors: Ruben Martins; France Simard; Oury Monchi;

Differences between Patterns of Brain Activity Associated with Semantics and Those Linked with Phonological Processing Diminish with Age

Abstract

It is widely believed that language function tends to show little age-related performance decline. Indeed, some older individuals seem to use compensatory mechanisms to maintain a high level of performance when submitted to lexical tasks. However, how these mechanisms affect cortical and subcortical activity during semantic and phonological processing has not been extensively explored. The purpose of this study was to look at the effect of healthy aging on cortico-subcortical routes related to semantic and phonological processing using a lexical analogue of the Wisconsin Cart-Sorting Task. Our results indicate that while young adults tend to show increased activity in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the fusiform gyrus, the ventral temporal lobe and the caudate nucleus during semantic decisions and in the posterior Broca's area (area 44), the temporal lobe (area 37), the temporoparietal junction (area 40) and the motor cortical regions during phonological decisions, older individuals showed increased activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and motor cortical regions during both semantic and phonological decisions. Furthermore, when semantic and phonological decisions were contrasted with each other, younger individuals showed significant brain activity differences in several regions while older individuals did not. Therefore, in older individuals, the semantic and phonological routes seem to merge into a single pathway. These findings represent most probably neural reserve/compensation mechanisms, characterized by a decrease in specificity, on which the elderly rely to maintain an adequate level of performance.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Ventrolateral prefrontal cortex Brain activity and meditation Temporoparietal junction Temporal lobe medicine Prefrontal cortex Fusiform gyrus Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex medicine.anatomical_structure Psychology Occipital lobe Neuroscience

Library of Congress Subject Headings: lcsh:Medicine lcsh:Science lcsh:R lcsh:Q

Keywords

Adult, Male, Aging, Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuroimaging, Phonetics, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Humans, Psychology, Aged, Brain Mapping, Multidisciplinary, Brain, Biology and Life Sciences, Middle Aged, Semantics, Female, Research Article, Neuroscience

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    influence
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    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
  • citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    12
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
12
Average
Average
Average
Green
gold
Funded by
NSERC
Project
  • Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Related to Research communities
Neuroinformatics
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