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Published May 2015 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Functional connectivity of the striatum in experts of stenography


Introduction: Stenography, or shorthand, is a unique set of skills that involves intensive training which is nearly life-long and orchestrating various brain functional modules, including auditory, linguistic, cognitive, mnemonic, and motor. Stenography provides cognitive neuroscientists with a unique opportunity to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying the neural plasticity that enables such a high degree of expertise. However, shorthand is quickly being replaced with voice recognition technology. We took this nearly final opportunity to scan the brains of the last alive shorthand experts of the Japanese language. Methods: Thirteen right-handed stenographers and fourteen right-handed controls participated in the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study. Results: The fMRI data revealed plastic reorganization of the neural circuits around the putamen. The acquisition of expert skills was accompanied by structural and functional changes in the area. The posterior putamen is known as the execution center of acquired sensorimotor skills. Compared to nonexperts, the posterior putamen in stenographers had high covariation with the cerebellum and midbrain. The stenographers' brain developed different neural circuits from those of the nonexpert brain. Conclusions: The current data illustrate the vigorous plasticity in the putamen and in its connectivity to other relevant areas in the expert brain. This is a case of vigorous neural plastic reorganization in response to massive overtraining, which is rare especially considering that it occurred in adulthood.

Additional Information

© 2015 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Received: 18 June 2014; Revised: 17 January 2015; Accepted: 25 January 2015. Article first published online: 25 Mar. 2015. This work was funded by the Tamagawa University Global Center of Excellence (GCOE) program of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Technology and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (23118003; Adolescent Mind & Self-Regulation) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan. SS was supported by the Japanese Agency of Technology, CREST program (Implicit Interpersonal Communication). We thank all of the stenographers and control participants who cooperated in this study.

Attached Files

Published - Ito_et_al-2015-Brain_and_Behavior.pdf

Supplemental Material - brb3333-sup-0001-FigureS1.pdf

Supplemental Material - brb3333-sup-0002-FigureS2.pdf

Supplemental Material - brb3333-sup-0003-FigureS3.pdf

Supplemental Material - brb3333-sup-0004-FigureS1-S3.docx


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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023