Brain networks underlying figurative language production

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Roger E. Beaty (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Paul Silvia

Abstract: Metaphor is a common form of figurative language, yet little is known about how the brain produces novel figurative expressions. Related research suggests that dynamic interactions between large-scale brain systems support a range of complex cognitive processes, particularly those requiring focused internal attention and cognitive control. However, the extent to which these networks interact to support core processes of figurative language production remains unknown. The present research explored this question by assessing functional interactions between brain regions during novel metaphor production. Participants completed a metaphor production task and a literal control task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Whole-brain functional connectivity analysis revealed a distributed network associated with metaphor production, including several nodes of the default (precuneus and left angular gyrus; AG) and executive (right intraparietal sulcus; IPS) networks. Seed-based analyses showed direct function connections between core hubs of the default, salience, and executive networks. Moreover, analysis of temporal network dynamics found early functional coupling of the left AG and right anterior insula that preceded subsequent coupling of the left AG and left DLPFC, pointing to a potential switching mechanism underlying default and executive network interaction. These results extend recent work on the cooperative role of large-scale networks during complex cognitive processes, and suggest that metaphor production involves dynamic cooperation between brain systems linked to cognitive control, semantic integration, and spontaneously-generated thought.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Brain connectivity, Creativity, Figurative language, Metaphor, Networks
Neural networks (Neurobiology)

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