MEG Evidence for Incremental Sentence Composition in the Anterior Temporal Lobe

Jonathan R. Brennan, Liina Pylkkänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Research investigating the brain basis of language comprehension has associated the left anterior temporal lobe (ATL) with sentence-level combinatorics. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we test the parsing strategy implemented in this brain region. The number of incremental parse steps from a predictive left-corner parsing strategy that is supported by psycholinguistic research is compared with those from a less-predictive strategy. We test for a correlation between parse steps and source-localized MEG activity recorded while participants read a story. Left-corner parse steps correlated with activity in the left ATL around 350-500 ms after word onset. No other correlations specific to sentence comprehension were observed. These data indicate that the left ATL engages in combinatoric processing that is well characterized by a predictive left-corner parsing strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCognitive Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2016

Fingerprint

Magnetoencephalography
Temporal Lobe
Brain
Chemical analysis
Psycholinguistics
Research
Language
Processing
Parsing

Keywords

  • Language understanding
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Semantics
  • Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence

Cite this

MEG Evidence for Incremental Sentence Composition in the Anterior Temporal Lobe. / Brennan, Jonathan R.; Pylkkänen, Liina.

In: Cognitive Science, 2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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