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Elife. 2018 Dec 21;7. pii: e39061. doi: 10.7554/eLife.39061.

Specific lexico-semantic predictions are associated with unique spatial and temporal patterns of neural activity.

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Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States.
Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, United States.
Department of Psychology, Tufts University, Medford, United States.
School of Psychology, Centre for Human Brain Health, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.


We used Magnetoencephalography (MEG) in combination with Representational Similarity Analysis to probe neural activity associated with distinct, item-specific lexico-semantic predictions during language comprehension. MEG activity was measured as participants read highly constraining sentences in which the final words could be predicted. Before the onset of the predicted words, both the spatial and temporal patterns of brain activity were more similar when the same words were predicted than when different words were predicted. The temporal patterns localized to the left inferior and medial temporal lobe. These findings provide evidence that unique spatial and temporal patterns of neural activity are associated with item-specific lexico-semantic predictions. We suggest that the unique spatial patterns reflected the prediction of spatially distributed semantic features associated with the predicted word, and that the left inferior/medial temporal lobe played a role in temporally 'binding' these features, giving rise to unique lexico-semantic predictions.


MEG; human; inferior temporal; language; neuroscience; prediction; spatial pattern; temporal pattern

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