Subjective language aptitude linked to distinct neural patterns in Broca’s area BA44

Zengaffinen, Francilia Sabrina; Stahnke, Antje; Furger, Stephan; Federspiel, Andrea; König, Thomas; Stegmayer, Katharina Deborah Lena; Walther, Sebastian; Wiest, Roland; Strik, Werner; Dierks, Thomas; Morishima, Yosuke (14 June 2019). Subjective language aptitude linked to distinct neural patterns in Broca’s area BA44 (Unpublished). In: Clinical Neuroscience Bern Annual Meeting.

In mental disorders the language dimension, including speech and thought, is often impaired. In psychosis, the dimension of language symptoms represents a great variability between the patients. To study language as continuum from health to psychosis a dimensional approach is needed. Consequently, we examined the heterogeneity of a healthy population during a language task in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), in relation to a subjective rating of one’s language aptitude. The aim was to study the spectrum of inter-individual differences and its connectivity from Broca’s area with language-related brain areas. The observed heterogeneity in the healthy group would enable an extrapolation to observable clinical side of the continuum.
In this study, 102 healthy adult participants were asked to rate on a 7-ponit Likert scale, how they perceived their own language aptitude. Allowing us to separate participants, according to their rating, into groups of high, mid or low language aptitude. Furthermore, they completed a lexical priming task, while measuring brain activity in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Participants had to decide, if a visually presented target word would reflect the generic term of a previously presented a prime word, in terms of its category (e.g. Apple – Fruit) or its relation (e.g. Apple – Pear).
Although reaction time (RT) and accuracy showed no significant differences between all three groups, the psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analysis of BA44 and reaction time revealed distinct connectivity patterns from BA44 among the high and low language aptitude groups in the preparation phase (waiting for the target after the indication of task type). We found that a stronger connectivity from BA44 to the left posterior middle temporal gyrus (MTG) was associated with faster RT in the high group. The low group showed a similar pattern, but from BA44 to the left fusiform gyrus, also known as the visual word form area.
These results show that, according to subjective evaluation of their own language aptitude, different neural connectivity routes are activated. These insights into the dimension of language is helping future research, that analyzes the continuum from the healthy population profiles to the profiles of the population with psychosis.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Zengaffinen, Francilia Sabrina, Stahnke, Antje, Furger, Stephan Niklaus, Federspiel, Andrea, König, Thomas, Stegmayer, Katharina Deborah Lena, Walther, Sebastian, Wiest, Roland Gerhard Rudi, Strik, Werner, Dierks, Thomas, Morishima, Yosuke


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Francilia Sabrina Zengaffinen

Date Deposited:

19 Dec 2019 13:29

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:32


Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback