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Brain activation for language dual-tasking: Listening to two people speak at the same time and a change in network timing

Authors

  • Augusto Buchweitz,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    2. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), School of Languages, Porto Alegre, Brazil
    • Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Instituto de Letras, Bento Gonçalves, 9500, Bairro Agronomia, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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  • Timothy A. Keller,

    1. Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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  • Ann Meyler,

    1. Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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  • Marcel Adam Just

    1. Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Abstract

The study used fMRI to investigate brain activation in participants who were able to listen to and successfully comprehend two people speaking at the same time (dual-tasking). The study identified brain mechanisms associated with high-level, concurrent dual-tasking, as compared with comprehending a single message. Results showed an increase in the functional connectivity among areas of the language network in the dual task. The increase in synchronization of brain activation for dual-tasking was brought about primarily by a change in the timing of left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) activation relative to posterior temporal activation, bringing the LIFG activation into closer correspondence with temporal activation. The results show that the change in LIFG timing was greater in participants with lower working memory capacity, and that recruitment of additional activation in the dual-task occurred only in the areas adjacent to the language network that was activated in the single task. The shift in LIFG activation may be a brain marker of how the brain adapts to high-level dual-tasking. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc

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