Mapping the brain network of the phonological loop

Costanza Papagno, Alessandro Comi, Marco Riva, Alberto Bizzi, Mirta Vernice, Alessandra Casarotti, Enrica Fava, Lorenzo Bello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cortical and subcortical neural correlates underlying item and order information in verbal short-term memory (STM) were investigated by means of digit span in 29 patients with direct electrical stimulation during awake surgery for removal of a neoplastic lesion. Stimulation of left Broca's area interfered with span, producing significantly more item than order errors, as compared to the stimulation of the supramarginal/angular gyrus, which also interfered with span but, conversely, produced more order than item errors. Similarly, stimulation of the third segment of the left superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF-III), also known as anterior segment of the arcuate fascicle (AF), produced more order than item errors. Therefore, we obtained two crucial results: first, we were able to distinguish between content and order information storage. Second, we demonstrated that the SLF-III is involved in transferring order information from Geschwind's area to Broca's area. In a few patients, we demonstrated that also order information of nonverbal material was disrupted by left supramarginal gyrus stimulation. Order information is thus likely stored in the supramarginal gyrus, possibly independently from the nature of the material. Hum Brain Mapp 38:3011–3024, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3011-3024
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • arcuate
  • direct electric stimulation
  • inferior parietal lobule
  • memory short-term
  • neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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