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Exploring the neural representation of novel words learned through enactment in a word recognition task

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Macedonia,  Manuela
Department of Information Engineering, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria;
Max Planck Research Group Neural Mechanisms of Human Communication, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Mueller,  Karsten
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Macedonia, M., & Mueller, K. (2016). Exploring the neural representation of novel words learned through enactment in a word recognition task. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 953. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00953.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-277D-B
Abstract
Vocabulary learning in a second language is enhanced if learners enrich the learning experience with self-performed iconic gestures. This learning strategy is called enactment. Here we explore how enacted words are functionally represented in the brain and which brain regions contribute to enhance retention. After an enactment training lasting 4 days, participants performed a word recognition task in the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scanner. Data analysis suggests the participation of different and partially intertwined networks that are engaged in higher cognitive processes, i.e., enhanced attention and word recognition. Also, an experience-related network seems to map word representation. Besides core language regions, this latter network includes sensory and motor cortices, the basal ganglia, and the cerebellum. On the basis of its complexity and the involvement of the motor system, this sensorimotor network might explain superior retention for enactment.