Multiple brain networks underpinning word learning from fluent speech revealed by independent component analysis

Diana López-Barroso, Pablo Ripollés, Josep Marco-Pallarés, Bahram Mohammadi, Thomas F. Münte, Anne Catherine Bachoud-Lévi, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells, Ruth de Diego-Balaguer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although neuroimaging studies using standard subtraction-based analysis from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have suggested that frontal and temporal regions are involved in word learning from fluent speech, the possible contribution of different brain networks during this type of learning is still largely unknown. Indeed, univariate fMRI analyses cannot identify the full extent of distributed networks that are engaged by a complex task such as word learning. Here we used Independent Component Analysis (ICA) to characterize the different brain networks subserving word learning from an artificial language speech stream. Results were replicated in a second cohort of participants with a different linguistic background. Four spatially independent networks were associated with the task in both cohorts: (i) a dorsal Auditory-Premotor network; (ii) a dorsal Sensory-Motor network; (iii) a dorsal Fronto-Parietal network; and (iv) a ventral Fronto-Temporal network. The level of engagement of these networks varied through the learning period with only the dorsal Auditory-Premotor network being engaged across all blocks. In addition, the connectivity strength of this network in the second block of the learning phase correlated with the individual variability in word learning performance. These findings suggest that: (i) word learning relies on segregated connectivity patterns involving dorsal and ventral networks; and (ii) specifically, the dorsal auditory-premotor network connectivity strength is directly correlated with word learning performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-193
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Dorsal-stream
  • Functional connectivity
  • ICA
  • Ventral stream
  • Word-learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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