Motor brain regions are involved in the encoding of delayed intentions: a fMRI study
Eschen, A., Freeman, J., Dietrich, T., Martin, M., Ellis, J., Martin, E. and Kliegel, M. (2007) Motor brain regions are involved in the encoding of delayed intentions: a fMRI study. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 64 (3). pp. 259-268. ISSN 0167-8760
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2006.09.005
In studies of prospective memory, recall of the content of delayed intentions is normally excellent, probably because they contain actions that have to be enacted at a later time. Action words encoded for later enactment are more accessible from memory than those encoded for later verbal report [Freeman, J.E., and Ellis, J.A. 2003a. The representation of delayed intentions: A prospective subject-performed task? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29, 976-992.]. As this higher assessibility is lost when the intended actions have to be enacted during encoding, or when a motor interference task is introduced concurrent to intention encoding, Freeman and Ellis suggested that the advantage of to-be-enacted actions is due to additional preparatory motor operations during encoding. Accordingly, in a fMRI study with 10 healthy young participants, we investigated whether motor brain regions are differentially activated during verbal encoding of actions for later enactment with the right hand in contrast to verbal encoding of actions for later verbal report. We included an additional condition of verbal encoding of abstract verbs for later verbal report to investigate whether the semantic motor information inherent in action verbs in contrast to abstract verbs activates motor brain regions different from those involved in the verbal encoding of actions for later enactment. Differential activation for the verbal encoding of to-be-enacted actions in contrast to to-be-reported actions was found in brain regions known to be involved in covert motor preparation for hand movements, i.e. the postcentral gyrus, the precuneus, the dorsal and ventral premotor cortex, the posterior middle temporal gyrus and the inferior parietal lobule. There was no overlap between these brain regions and those differentially activated during the verbal encoding of actions in contrast to abstract verbs for later verbal report. Consequently, the results of this fMRI study suggest the presence of preparatory motor operations during the encoding of delayed intentions requiring a future motor response, which cannot be attributed to semantic information inherent to action verbs. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.