Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
The Hayling Sentence Completion Task (HSCT) is known to activate left hemisphere frontal and temporal language regions. However, the effective connectivity between frontal and temporal language regions associated with the task has yet to be examined. The aims of the study were to examine activation and effective connectivity during the HSCT using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigm in which participants made overt verbal responses. We predicted that producing an incongruent response (response suppression), compared to a congruent one (response initiation), would be associated with greater activation in the left prefrontal cortex and an increase in the effective connectivity between temporal and frontal regions. Fifteen participants were scanned while completing 80 sentence stems. The congruency and constraint of sentences varied across trials. Dynamic Causal Modeling (DCM) and Bayesian Model Selection (BMS) were used to compare a set of alternative DCMs of fronto-temporal connectivity. The HSCT activated regions in the left temporal and prefrontal cortices, and the cuneus. Response suppression was associated with greater activation in the left middle and orbital frontal gyri and the bilateral precuneus than response initiation. Left middle temporal and frontal regions identified by the conventional fMRI analyses were entered into the DCM analysis. Using a systematic BMS procedure, the optimal DCM showed that the connection from the left middle temporal gyrus, which was driven by verbal stimuli per se, was significantly increased in strength during response suppression compared to initiation. Greater effective connectivity between left temporal and prefrontal regions during response suppression may reflect the transfer of information from posterior temporal regions where semantic and lexical information is stored to prefrontal regions where it is manipulated in preparation for an appropriate response.