Poster E42, Monday, March 26, 2:30-4:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
The relationship between theta oscillations and the function of working memory processes during reading comprehension
Shelby Smith1, Anna Allen1, Kristin Ritchey1, Scott Wittman1, Caleb Robinson1, Tania Morales1, Charles Jackson1, Tyler Halbert1, Cori Conner1, Alaina Myers1, Kierstin Riels1, Austin Tatum1; 1Ball State University
The ability to draw inferences, the generated connections between the concepts within a text, is related to reading comprehension (Lorch & van den Broek, 1997; Kendeou, 2015; Lorch, 2015). Currently, there is a lack of neuroscientific research investigating the basis of online reading comprehension. For this study, we used electroencephalography (EEG) to deconstruct the processes involved in comprehending textual information. EEG was recorded while participants read, and we measured working memory capacity (WMC) using an operation span task in 17 participants. We hypothesized the roles of WMC and theta frequency waveforms would explain reading comprehension abilities. Our findings suggest that theta synchrony in the right frontal lobe (r = .74, p < .01) and right temporal lobe (r = .64, p = .02) as participants read, and generated inferences, correlates directly with WMC. Our results elucidate the role of working memory processes during reading, which yields a better understanding of online comprehension processes. Given how prior research suggests that WMC is a function of attentional control (AC; Engle, 2002), further research will investigate AC through the neural correlates of WM functioning during reading comprehension.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory