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Journal Article

Modulation of neural activity during object naming: Effects of time and practice


Van Turennout,  Miranda
Language Production Group Levelt, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Other Research, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Van Turennout, M., Bielamowicz, L., & Martin, A. (2003). Modulation of neural activity during object naming: Effects of time and practice. Cerebral Cortex, 13(4), 381-391.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-1CFE-7
Repeated exposure to objects improves our ability to identify and name them, even after a long delay. Previous brain imaging studies have demonstrated that this experience-related facilitation of object naming is associated with neural changes in distinct brain regions. We used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the modulation of neural activity in the object naming system as a function of experience and time. Pictures of common objects were presented repeatedly for naming at different time intervals (1 h, 6 h and 3 days) before scanning, or at 30 s intervals during scanning. The results revealed that as objects became more familiar with experience, activity in occipitotemporal and left inferior frontal regions decreased while activity in the left insula and basal ganglia increased. In posterior regions, reductions in activity as a result of multiple repetitions did not interact with time, whereas in left inferior frontal cortex larger decreases were observed when repetitions were spaced out over time. This differential modulation of activity in distinct brain regions provides support for the idea that long-lasting object priming is mediated by two neural mechanisms. The first mechanism may involve changes in object-specific representations in occipitotemporal cortices, the second may be a form of procedural learning involving a reorganization in brain circuitry that leads to more efficient name retrieval.