Test-retest reliability of MEG context-driven word production

Roos, N.M.
Vitoria Piai


Changes in brain organization following damage are commonly observed, but they remain poorly understood. These changes are often studied with imaging techniques that overlook the temporal granularity at which language processes occur. By contrast, electrophysiological measures provide excellent temporal resolution. To test the suitability of magnetoencephalography (MEG) to track language-related neuroplasticity, the present study aimed at establishing the spectro-temporo-spatial across-session consistency of context-driven picture naming in healthy individuals, using MEG in two test–retest sessions. Spectro-temporo-spatial test–retest consistency in a healthy population is a prerequisite for studying neuronal changes in clinical populations over time. For this purpose, 15 healthy speakers were tested with MEG while performing a context-driven picture-naming task at two time points. Participants read a sentence missing the final word and named a picture completing the sentence. Sentences were constrained or unconstrained toward the picture, such that participants could either retrieve the picture name through sentence context (constrained sentences), or could only name it after the picture appeared (unconstrained sentences). The context effect (constrained versus unconstrained) in picture-naming times had a strong effect size and high across-session consistency. The context MEG results revealed alpha–beta power decreases (10–20 Hz) in the left temporal and inferior parietal lobule that were consistent across both sessions. As robust spectro-temporo-spatial findings in a healthy population are required for working toward longitudinal patient studies, we conclude that using context-driven language production and MEG is a suitable way to examine language-related neuroplasticity after brain damage.