Comparison of brain activation during word retrieval done silently and aloud using fMRI

Brain Cogn. 2000 Mar;42(2):201-17. doi: 10.1006/brcg.1999.1100.


Using functional MRI we compared the patterns of activation in an effortful word retrieval task (stem completion) performed both silently and aloud. The silent and overt conditions showed expected differences in activation magnitude in regions such as primary motor cortex. Some regions, such as frontal operculum and dorsolateral frontal cortex, showed similar activation magnitude across conditions. Thalamus was more active on the left in both conditions and showed a symmetric drop in activity in the silent compared with the overt condition. Putamen was also more active in the overt condition and showed a larger decrease in activity on the right than on the left in the silent compared with the overt condition. Thus it appears that silent and overt performance of this task engage the thalamus and putamen in different ways.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Putamen / physiology
  • Thalamus / physiology
  • Vocabulary*