Predicting language

MEG evidence for lexical preactivation

Suzanne Dikker, Liina Pylkkänen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    It is widely assumed that prediction plays a substantial role in language processing. However, despite numerous studies demonstrating that contextual information facilitates both syntactic and lexical-semantic processing, there exists no direct evidence pertaining to the neural correlates of the prediction process itself. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), this study found that brain activity was modulated by whether or not a specific noun could be predicted, given a picture prime. Specifically, before the noun was presented, predictive contexts triggered enhanced activation in left mid-temporal cortex (implicated in lexical access), ventro-medial prefrontal cortex (previously associated with top-down processing), and visual cortex (hypothesized to index the preactivation of predicted form features), successively. This finding suggests that predictive language processing recruits a top-down network where predicted words are activated at different levels of representation, from more 'abstract' lexical-semantic representations in temporal cortex, all the way down to visual word form features. The same brain regions that exhibited enhanced activation for predictive contexts before the onset of the noun showed effects of congruence during the target word. To our knowledge, this study is one of the first to directly investigate the anticipatory stage of predictive language processing.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)55-64
    Number of pages10
    JournalBrain and Language
    Volume127
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 2013

    Fingerprint

    Magnetoencephalography
    Language
    Temporal Lobe
    Semantics
    activation
    brain
    language
    semantics
    evidence
    Brain
    Visual Cortex
    Prefrontal Cortex
    Cortex
    Nouns
    Language Processing
    Lexical Semantics
    Prediction
    Activation

    Keywords

    • Language processing
    • Lexical priming
    • Lexical-semantic processing
    • Magnetoencephalography
    • Prediction
    • Top-down processing
    • Visual cortex

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Linguistics and Language
    • Speech and Hearing
    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Cognitive Neuroscience
    • Language and Linguistics

    Cite this

    Predicting language : MEG evidence for lexical preactivation. / Dikker, Suzanne; Pylkkänen, Liina.

    In: Brain and Language, Vol. 127, No. 1, 10.2013, p. 55-64.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Dikker, Suzanne ; Pylkkänen, Liina. / Predicting language : MEG evidence for lexical preactivation. In: Brain and Language. 2013 ; Vol. 127, No. 1. pp. 55-64.
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