The neural bases of strategy and skill in sentence-picture verification

Erik D. Reichle*, Patricia A. Carpenter, Marcel Adam Just

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Citations (Scopus)


This experiment used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to examine the relation between individual differences in cognitive skill and the amount of cortical activation engendered by two strategies (linguistic vs. visual-spatial) in a sentence-picture verification task. The verbal strategy produced more activation in language-related cortical regions (e.g., Broca's area), whereas the visual-spatial strategy produced more activation in regions that have been implicated in visual-spatial reasoning (e.g., parietal cortex). These relations were also modulated by individual differences in cognitive skill: Individuals with better verbal skills (as measured by the reading span test) had less activation in Broca's area when they used the verbal strategy. Similarly, individuals with better visual-spatial skills (as measured by the Vandenberg, 1971, mental rotation test) had less activation in the left parietal cortex when they used the visual-spatial strategy. These results indicate that language and visual-spatial processing are supported by partially separable networks of cortical regions and suggests one basis for strategy selection: the minimization of cognitive workload.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-295
Number of pages35
JournalCognitive Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

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