The present study combined behavioral measures and diffusion tensor imaging to investigate the neuroanatomical basis of language learning in relation to phonological working memory (WM). Participants were exposed to simplified artificial languages under WM constraints. The results underscore the role of the rehearsal subcomponent of WM in successful speech segmentation and rule learning. Moreover, when rehearsal was blocked task performance was correlated to the white matter microstructure of the left ventral pathway connecting frontal and temporal language-related cortical areas through the extreme/external capsule. This ventral pathway may therefore play an important additional role in language learning when the main dorsal pathway-dependent rehearsal mechanisms are not available.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)