The neural bases of strategy and skill in sentence-picture verification

Cogn Psychol. 2000 Jun;40(4):261-95. doi: 10.1006/cogp.2000.0733.

Abstract

This experiment used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to examine the relation between individual differences in cognitive skill and the amount of cortical activation engendered by two strategies (linguistic vs. visual-spatial) in a sentence-picture verification task. The verbal strategy produced more activation in language-related cortical regions (e.g., Broca's area), whereas the visual-spatial strategy produced more activation in regions that have been implicated in visual-spatial reasoning (e.g., parietal cortex). These relations were also modulated by individual differences in cognitive skill: Individuals with better verbal skills (as measured by the reading span test) had less activation in Broca's area when they used the verbal strategy. Similarly, individuals with better visual-spatial skills (as measured by the Vandenberg, 1971, mental rotation test) had less activation in the left parietal cortex when they used the visual-spatial strategy. These results indicate that language and visual-spatial processing are supported by partially separable networks of cortical regions and suggests one basis for strategy selection: the minimization of cognitive workload.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Verbal Learning / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology