Neural tracking of speech mental imagery during rhythmic inner counting

Elife. 2019 Oct 22;8:e48971. doi: 10.7554/eLife.48971.

Abstract

The subjective inner experience of mental imagery is among the most ubiquitous human experiences in daily life. Elucidating the neural implementation underpinning the dynamic construction of mental imagery is critical to understanding high-order cognitive function in the human brain. Here, we applied a frequency-tagging method to isolate the top-down process of speech mental imagery from bottom-up sensory-driven activities and concurrently tracked the neural processing time scales corresponding to the two processes in human subjects. Notably, by estimating the source of the magnetoencephalography (MEG) signals, we identified isolated brain networks activated at the imagery-rate frequency. In contrast, more extensive brain regions in the auditory temporal cortex were activated at the stimulus-rate frequency. Furthermore, intracranial stereotactic electroencephalogram (sEEG) evidence confirmed the participation of the inferior frontal gyrus in generating speech mental imagery. Our results indicate that a disassociated neural network underlies the dynamic construction of speech mental imagery independent of auditory perception.

Keywords: MEG; human; neuroscience; sEEG; speech mental imagery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Comprehension
  • Electrocorticography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imagination / physiology*
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Speech Perception / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Young Adult