Missing links: the functional unification of language and memory (L∪M)

Elise Roger, Sonja Banjac, Michel Thiebaut, Monica Baciu
PsyArXiv preprint. 2021-09-22; :
DOI: 10.31234/osf.io/p98n3

The field of neurocognition is currently undergoing a significant change of perspective. Traditional neurocognitive models evolved into an integrative and dynamic vision of cognitive functioning. Dynamic integration assumes an interaction between cognitive domains traditionally considered to be distinct. Language and declarative memory are regarded as separate functions supported by different neural systems. However, they also share anatomical structures (notably, the inferior frontal gyrus, the supplementary motor area, the superior and middle temporal gyrus, and the hippocampal complex) and cognitive processes (such as semantic and working memory) that merge to endorse our quintessential daily lives. We propose a new model, “L∪M” (i.e., Language/union/Memory), that considers these two functions interactively. We fractionated language and declarative memory into three cognitive dimensions, Embodiment-Formulation-Internalization, that communicate reciprocally. We formalized their interactions at the brain level with a connectivity-based approach. This new taxonomy overcomes the modular view of cognitive functioning and reconciles functional specialization with plasticity in neurological disorders.

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