Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Journal Article

Thinking about thinking: Neural mechanisms and effects on memory


Bonhage,  Corinna
Department of Neurolinguistics, Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, Germany;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;


Kanske,  Philipp
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)
There are no public fulltexts stored in PuRe
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Bonhage, C., Weber, F., Exner, C., & Kanske, P. (2016). Thinking about thinking: Neural mechanisms and effects on memory. NeuroImage, 127, 203-214. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.11.067.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-1E36-3
It is a well-established finding that memory encoding is impaired if an external secondary task (e.g. tone discrimination) is performed simultaneously. Yet, while studying we are also often engaged in internal secondary tasks such as planning, ruminating, or daydreaming. It remains unclear whether such a secondary internal task has similar effects on memory and what the neural mechanisms underlying such an influence are. We therefore measured participants' blood oxygenation level dependent responses while they learned word-pairs and simultaneously performed different types of secondary tasks (i.e., internal, external, and control). Memory performance decreased in both internal and external secondary tasks compared to the easy control condition. However, while the external task reduced activity in memory-encoding related regions (hippocampus), the internal task increased neural activity in brain regions associated with self-reflection (anterior medial prefrontal cortex), as well as in regions associated with performance monitoring and the perception of salience (anterior insula, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex). Resting-state functional connectivity analyses confirmed that anterior medial prefrontal cortex and anterior insula/dorsal anterior cingulate cortex are part of the default mode network and salience network, respectively. In sum, a secondary internal task impairs memory performance just as a secondary external task, but operates through different neural mechanisms.