Large-scale cortical network properties predict future sound-to-word learning success

Sheppard, J. P., Wang, J. P., Wong, P. C. M. (May 2012) Large-scale cortical network properties predict future sound-to-word learning success. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24 (5). pp. 1087-1103. ISSN 0898-929X

DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_00210


The human brain possesses a remarkable capacity to interpret and recall novel sounds as spoken language. These linguistic abilities arise from complex processing spanning a widely distributed cortical network and are characterized by marked individual variation. Recently, graph theoretical analysis has facilitated the exploration of how such aspects of large-scale brain functional organization may underlie cognitive performance. Brain functional networks are known to possess small-world topologies characterized by efficient global and local information transfer, but whether these properties relate to language learning abilities remains unknown. Here we applied graph theory to construct large-scale cortical functional networks from cerebral hemodynamic (fMRI) responses acquired during an auditory pitch discrimination task and found that such network properties were associated with participants' future success in learning words of an artificial spoken language. Successful learners possessed networks with reduced local efficiency but increased global efficiency relative to less successful learners and had a more cost-efficient network organization. Regionally, successful and less successful learners exhibited differences in these network properties spanning bilateral prefrontal, parietal, and right temporal cortex, overlapping a core network of auditory language areas. These results suggest that efficient cortical network organization is associated with sound-toword learning abilities among healthy, younger adults. © 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: adult article auditory discrimination auditory response brain function controlled study female functional magnetic resonance imaging hemodynamics human human experiment language male nerve cell network normal human prediction and forecasting priority journal temporal cortex verbal communication
Subjects: organism description > animal behavior > learning
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions > neural networks
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Churchland lab
School of Biological Sciences > Publications
Depositing User: Matt Covey
Date: May 2012
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2013 19:37
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 13:51
PMCID: PMC3736731
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