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The Spontaneous Activities of the Multiple Demand Network are related to Individual Differences in Indirect Replies Comprehension.

This study aims to investigate the brain networks engaged in the comprehension of indirect language, as well as the individual difference in this capacity. Specially, we aim to determine whether the difference is solely influenced by the difference in individuals' default network (DN)/language network or whether it also relies on the networks associated with processing of complex cognitive tasks, particularly the multiple demand network (MDN). Conversational indirectness scale (CIS) scores in the interpretation dimension were used as a behavioral indicator of the indirect comprehension tendency. Reading time difference between indirect replies and direct replies collected through a self-paced reading experiment was deemed as a behavioral indicator of comprehension speed of indirect replies comprehension. The two behavioral indicators were combined with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). The behaviour-rfMRI analysis showed that ALFF value of right SPL and the functional connectivity (FC) between the right SPL and right IPL/SMA/ITG/Precuneus/bilateral IFG were positively correlated with the interpretation dimension of CIS scores. In addition, the ALFF value of right fusiform gyrus, the FC between the right fusiform gyrus and right precuneus, and the FCs between right SPL and right IPL/Precuneus/IFG were negatively correlated with indirect replies comprehension speed. Overlapping of these regions with large-scale brain network revealed that the right SPL was mainly located in the MDN, and the right fusiform gyrus was mainly located in the language network. Additionally, the areas showing functional connectivity with these regions were primarily located in the MDN, with a smaller subset located in the DN. Our findings suggest that the ability of individuals to actively and rapidly acquire indirect meaning relies not only on the support of the DN and the language network, but also requires collective support from the MDN.

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