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See detailThe importance of short-term memory for order in dissociating short-term memory and language deficits
Attout, Lucie ULg; VAN DER KAA, Marie-Anne ULg; GEORGE, Mercédès ULg et al

Poster (2011, May 27)

Selective verbal short-term memory (STM) deficits are rare, and when they appear, they are often associated with a history of aphasia, raising doubts about the selectivity of these deficits. We explore ... [more ▼]

Selective verbal short-term memory (STM) deficits are rare, and when they appear, they are often associated with a history of aphasia, raising doubts about the selectivity of these deficits. We explore here the distinction between STM for item information and STM for order information to separate STM and language impairments. Recent models of STM consider that STM for item information depends upon activation of the language system, and hence item STM deficits should be associated with language impairment. By contrast, STM for order information is considered to recruit a specific system, distinct from the language system. In this view, order STM should be impaired in patients with STM deficits that cannot be accounted for by language impairment. We applied this rationale to the exploration of STM profiles of patients MB and CG. Patient MB showed mild phonological impairment and associated STM deficits. As predicted, these were characterized by poor item STM but preserved order STM. Patient CG showed verbal STM deficits with no associated language deficits. His STM deficit was characterized by poor order STM but relatively preserved item STM. This study presents the first double dissociation between item and order STM deficits, demonstrating the necessity of this distinction for understanding selective STM impairment. [less ▲]

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See detailPhenomenology, function, and neural correlates of mind-wandering
Stawarczyk, David ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; D'Argembeau, Arnaud ULg

Conference (2011, May 27)

Mind-wandering refers to the occurrence of thoughts whose content is both decoupled from stimuli present in the immediate environment and unrelated to the task currently being carried out. In a series of ... [more ▼]

Mind-wandering refers to the occurrence of thoughts whose content is both decoupled from stimuli present in the immediate environment and unrelated to the task currently being carried out. In a series of experiments, we used a newly designed experience sampling method to assess mind-wandering episodes and to distinguish them from other kinds of distractions (irrelevant interoceptive/exteroceptive sensory perceptions and interfering thoughts related to the appraisal of the current task). In Experiment 1, we examined the impact of mind-wandering on performance of the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART; a Go/No-Go task). Analyses demonstrated that episodes of mind-wandering impair SART performance to the same extent as irrelevant sensory perceptions. In Experiment 2, we focused on the content of mind-wandering in order to assess its possible functions. We observed that most of reported mind-wandering episodes refer to the anticipation and planning of future events. Furthermore, this “prospective bias” was increased when participants’ attention had been oriented toward their personal goals prior to performing the SART. In Experiment 3, we examined the neural correlates of mind-wandering using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The results showed that the brain regions that were more active during episodes of mind-wandering are similar to the regions that have been associated with imagining future events in previous studies. Together, these results suggest that although episodes of mind-wandering negatively impact current task performance, they may have important adaptive value and could, in particular, play a key role in planning for the future. [less ▲]

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See detailWhat does the brain tell us about short-term memory?
Majerus, Steve ULg

Scientific conference (2011)

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See detailThe impact of emotional valence on verbal short-term memory.
Majerus, Steve ULg

Scientific conference (2011)

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See detailEarly contribution of phonological awareness and later influence of phonological memory throughout reading acquisition
Nithart, C.; Demont, E.; Majerus, Steve ULg et al

in Journal of Research in Reading (2011), 34

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See detailSKOOL versus ZOOL: Effects of orthographic and phonological long term memory on nonword immediate serial recall
Tree, Jeremy; Longmore, Chris; Majerus, Steve ULg

in Memory (2011), 19

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See detailLecture et habiletés phonologiques associées chez l’adulte dyslexique
Martinez Perez, Trecy ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Lederlé, E (Ed.) Les troubles du langage écrits : Regards croisés (2011)

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See detailEvidence for atypical categorical speech perception in Williams syndrome.
Majerus, Steve ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg; Bérault, Aurélie et al

in Journal of Neurolinguistics (2011), 24

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See detailNeural Correlates of Ongoing Conscious Experience: Both Task-Unrelatedness and Stimulus-Independence Are Related to Default Network Activity
Stawarczyk, David ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Maquet, Pierre ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2011), 6(2), 16997

The default mode network (DMN) is a set of brain regions that consistently shows higher activity at rest compared to tasks requiring sustained focused attention toward externally presented stimuli. The ... [more ▼]

The default mode network (DMN) is a set of brain regions that consistently shows higher activity at rest compared to tasks requiring sustained focused attention toward externally presented stimuli. The cognitive processes that the DMN possibly underlies remain a matter of debate. It has alternately been proposed that DMN activity reflects unfocused attention toward external stimuli or the occurrence of internally generated thoughts. The present study aimed at clarifying this issue by investigating the neural correlates of the various kinds of conscious experiences that can occur during task performance. Four classes of conscious experiences (i.e., being fully focused on the task, distractions by irrelevant sensations/perceptions, interfering thoughts related to the appraisal of the task, and mind-wandering) that varied along two dimensions (“task-relatedness” and “stimulus-dependency”) were sampled using thought-probes while the participants performed a go/no-go task. Analyses performed on the intervals preceding each probe according to the reported subjective experience revealed that both dimensions are relevant to explain activity in several regions of the DMN, namely the medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus, and posterior inferior parietal lobe. Notably, an additive effect of the two dimensions was demonstrated for midline DMN regions. On the other hand, lateral temporal regions (also part of the DMN) were specifically related to stimulus-independent reports. These results suggest that midline DMN regions underlie cognitive processes that are active during both internal thoughts and external unfocused attention. They also strengthen the view that the DMN can be fractionated into different subcomponents and reveal the necessity to consider both the stimulus-dependent and the task-related dimensions of conscious experiences when studying the possible functional roles of the DMN. [less ▲]

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See detailMind-wandering: Phenomenology and function as assessed with a novel experience sampling method
Stawarczyk, David ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Maj, Michalina et al

in Acta Psychologica (2011), 136(3), 370-381

Mind-wandering refers to the occurrence of thoughts whose content is both decoupled from stimuli present in the current environment and unrelated to the task being carried out at the moment of their ... [more ▼]

Mind-wandering refers to the occurrence of thoughts whose content is both decoupled from stimuli present in the current environment and unrelated to the task being carried out at the moment of their occurrence. The core of this phenomenon is therefore stimulus-independent and task-unrelated thoughts (SITUTs). In the present study, we designed a novel experience sampling method which permitted to isolate SITUTs from other kinds of distractions (i.e., irrelevant interoceptive/exteroceptive sensory perceptions and interfering thoughts related to the appraisal of the current task). In Experiment 1, we examined the impact of SITUTs on the performance of the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART; a Go/No-Go task). Analyses demonstrated that SITUTs impair SART performance to the same extent as irrelevant sensory perceptions. In Experiment 2, we further examined SITUTs in order to assess the possible functions of mind-wandering. We observed that the content of most of reported SITUTs refers to the anticipation and planning of future events. Furthermore, this “prospective bias” was increased when participants’ attention had been oriented toward their personal goals before performing the SART. These data support the view that an important function of mind-wandering relates to the anticipation and planning of the future. [less ▲]

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See detailImpaired verbal short-term memory for serial order information in dyslexic adults
Martinez Perez, Trecy ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

Poster (2010, September 10)

This study used the distinction of item and order information in verbal short-term memory (STM) to further our understanding of verbal STM impairments in dyslexia. Item STM has been shown to depend on the ... [more ▼]

This study used the distinction of item and order information in verbal short-term memory (STM) to further our understanding of verbal STM impairments in dyslexia. Item STM has been shown to depend on the quality of underlying phonological representations and hence should be impaired in dyslexic participants given their poor phonological processing abilities. On the other hand, order STM represents a specific STM capacity predicting learning capacity for new phonological and orthographic sequences (Majerus et al., 2006; Nithart et al, 2010). If STM impairments contribute to dyslexia, then especially order STM should be impaired, in addition to item STM. [less ▲]

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See detailSpoken sentence comprehension in children with developmental dyslexia
Leclercq, Anne-Lise ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Guasti, Maria Teresa et al

Poster (2010, September 09)

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See detailImpact de la longueur des énoncés et de la fréquence lexicale sur la compréhension d’énoncés chez des enfants
Leclercq, Anne-Lise ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Maillart, Christelle ULg

Conference (2010, July 06)

Introduction En psychologie cognitive, plusieurs modèles théoriques considèrent que le système de traitement de l’information humain a une capacité limitée (notamment, Just & Varma, 2007). L’efficacité ... [more ▼]

Introduction En psychologie cognitive, plusieurs modèles théoriques considèrent que le système de traitement de l’information humain a une capacité limitée (notamment, Just & Varma, 2007). L’efficacité lors d’activités recrutant un grand nombre de traitements cognitifs serait dépendante de la quantité de ressources disponibles pour les réaliser. En particulier, l’activité de compréhension d’énoncés nécessite la réalisation rapide et quasi simultanée d’un grand nombre de traitements, dont l’analyse morphosyntaxique à proprement parler, mais également le décodage phonologique et l’accès lexical. En outre, d’autres processus cognitifs interviennent, comme l’attention portée à la tâche ou la mémoire de travail qui permet la coordination entre le traitement de l’énoncé et le stockage des produits partiels de celui-ci. Selon le modèle de compréhension d’énoncés de Just & Carpenter (1992), les ressources disponibles doivent être réparties entre le stockage des éléments traités et l’analyse et l’intégration des éléments à traiter. Selon ces auteurs, certaines opérations sont plus coûteuses que d’autres. Par exemple, le traitement de lexèmes de basse fréquence lexicale serait plus coûteux que le traitement de lexèmes fréquents, car le niveau d’activation de base de leurs représentations lexicales serait inférieur à celui des derniers. De même, comme chaque élément à traiter consume des ressources, les ressources cognitives disponibles pour le traitement de chaque morphème sont proportionnellement moindres dans des énoncés longs que dans des énoncés courts. Ce nécessaire compromis lors du partage des ressources entre les opérations de stockage et de traitement peut donc se traduire par une chute des performances en compréhension d’énoncés, soit par oubli des premiers éléments traités, soit par manque de ressources pour traiter les derniers éléments présentés. Objectif Cette étude évalue l’impact de la longueur des énoncés et de la fréquence lexicale des lexèmes sur les performances en compréhension d’énoncés d’enfants de 4, 6, 8 et 10 ans. Méthodologie Participants : Enfants de 4, 6 et 8 ans (N=30 dans chaque groupe) et 15 enfants de 10 ans Tâche : Compréhension d’énoncés présentés oralement (structure = S + V transitif + COD + Proposition relative sujet avec verbe intransitif). Manipulation de la fréquence lexicale (4 niveaux) et de la longueur des énoncés par ajout d’éléments redondants (4 niveaux) Résultats Les effets de fréquence lexicale et de longueur se marquent en termes de réponses correctes de 4 à 6 ans, et en termes de rapidité de réponse de 6 à 10 ans. Conclusions La longueur des énoncés et la fréquence lexicale des termes utilisés sont des facteurs de complexité dans la compréhension d’énoncés, qui se manifestent par un échec de la compréhension chez les enfants les plus jeunes, et par un allongement du temps de traitement chez les enfants plus âgés. [less ▲]

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