Neuroimaging studies suggest that within-modality priming is associated with reduced regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in the extrastriate area, whereas cross-modality priming is associated with increased rCBF in prefrontal cortex. To characterize the nature of rCBF changes in within- and cross-modality priming, we conducted two neuroimaging experiments using positron emission tomography (PET). In experiment 1, rCBF changes in within-modality auditory priming on a word stem completion task were observed under same- and different-voice conditions. Both conditions were associated with decreased rCBF in extrastriate cortex. In the different-voice condition there were additional rCBF changes in the middle temporal gyrus and prefrontal cortex. Results suggest that the extrastriate involvement in within-modality priming is sensitive to a change in sensory modality of target stimuli between study and test, but not to a change in the feature of a stimulus within the same modality. In experiment 2, we studied cross-modality priming on a visual stem completion test after encoding under full- and divided-attention conditions. Increased rCBF in the anterior prefrontal cortex was observed in the full- but not in the divided-attention condition. Because explicit retrieval is compromised after encoding under the divided-attention condition, prefrontal involvement in cross-modality priming indicates recruitment of an aspect of explicit retrieval mechanism. The aspect of explicit retrieval that is most likely to be involved in cross-modality priming is the familiarity effect.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants MH57915 and MH60941 and Human Frontiers Science Program Grant RG0126.