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Brain and Language

Sophia Uddin, Shannon L M Heald, Stephen C Van Hedger, Howard C Nusbaum
Environmental sounds (ES) can be understood easily when substituted for words in sentences, suggesting that linguistic context benefits may be mediated by processes more general than some language-specific theories assert. However, the underlying neural processing is not understood. EEG was recorded for spoken sentences ending in either a spoken word or a corresponding ES. Endings were either congruent or incongruent with the sentence frame, and thus were expected to produce N400 activity. However, if ES and word meanings are combined with language context by different mechanisms, different N400 responses would be expected...
March 6, 2018: Brain and Language
Yu-Hsuan A Chang, Sogol S Javadi, Naeim Bahrami, Vedang S Uttarwar, Anny Reyes, Carrie R McDonald
Blocked and event-related fMRI designs are both commonly used to localize language networks and determine hemispheric dominance in research and clinical settings. We compared activation profiles on a semantic monitoring task using one of the two designs in a total of 43 healthy individual to determine whether task design or subject-specific factors (i.e., age, sex, or language performance) influence activation patterns. We found high concordance between the two designs within core language regions, including the inferior frontal, posterior temporal, and basal temporal region...
March 5, 2018: Brain and Language
Zuo Zhang, Yaoru Sun, Zijian Wang
Previous studies have shown that both reading action words and observing actions engage the motor cortex and Broca's area, but it is still controversial whether a somatotopic representation exists for action verbs within the motor cortex and whether Broca's area encodes action-specific semantics for verbs. Here we examined these two issues using a set of functional MRI experiments, including word reading, action observation and a movement localiser task. Results from multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) showed a somatotopic organisation within the motor areas and action-specific activation in Broca's area for observed actions, suggesting the representation of action semantics for observed actions in these neural regions...
March 1, 2018: Brain and Language
Yong Zhang, Kangcheng Wang, Chang Yue, Nina Mo, Deping Wu, Xu Wen, Jiang Qiu
The processing disadvantage of verbs compared to nouns and the greater vulnerability of verbs in brain damage have been ascribed to greater processing demands of morpho-syntactical or/and semantic properties for verbs, or/and visual complexity in picture-naming studies. Using picture naming, the current functional magnetic resonance imaging study examined the neural substrates underlying the semantic distinction between nouns and verbs. Under forced (externally-elicited) or free (internally-motivated) conditions, participants named a set of pictorial stimuli as objects or actions performed on/with the objects in Chinese...
March 1, 2018: Brain and Language
Jennifer Pomp, Anne-Kathrin Bestgen, Patrick Schulze, Christina J Müller, Francesca M M Citron, Boris Suchan, Lars Kuchinke
The investigation of specific lexical categories has substantially contributed to advancing our knowledge on how meaning is neurally represented. One sensory domain that has received particularly little attention is olfaction. This study aims to investigate the neural representation of lexical olfaction. In an fMRI experiment, participants read olfactory metaphors, their literal paraphrases, and literal olfactory sentences. Regions of interest were defined by a functional localizer run of odor processing. We observed activation in secondary olfactory areas during metaphorical and literal olfactory processing, thus extending previous findings to the novel source domain of olfaction...
February 23, 2018: Brain and Language
S Franceschini, S Mascheretti, S Bertoni, V Trezzi, C Andreola, S Gori, A Facoetti
Dyslexia (D) is a neurodevelopmental reading disorder characterized by phonological and orthographic deficits. Before phonological decoding, reading requires a specialized orthographic system for parallel letter processing that assigns letter identities to different spatial locations. The magnocellular-dorsal (MD) stream rapidly process the spatial location of visual stimuli controlling visuo-spatial attention. To investigate the visuo-spatial attention efficiency during orthographic processing, inhibition of return (IOR) was measured in adults with and without D in a lexical decision task...
February 13, 2018: Brain and Language
Laura Bechtold, Marta Ghio, Joachim Lange, Christian Bellebaum
According to the embodied cognition framework, the formation of conceptual representations integrates the type of experience during learning. In this electroencephalographic study, we applied a linguistic variant of a training paradigm, in which participants learned to associate novel names to novel tools while either manipulating or visually exploring them. The analysis focused on event-related desynchronization (ERD) of oscillations in the mu and beta frequency range, which reflects activation of sensorimotor brain areas...
February 5, 2018: Brain and Language
Yi-Tzu Chang, Shih-Che Lin, Ling-Fu Meng, Yang-Teng Fan
In this study we investigated the event-related potentials (ERPs) during the semantic judgment task (deciding if the two Chinese characters were semantically related or unrelated) to identify the timing of neural activation in children with early left brain damage (ELBD). The results demonstrated that compared with the controls, children with ELBD had (1) competitive accuracy and reaction time in the semantic judgment task, (2) weak operation of the N400, (3) stronger, earlier and later compensational positivities (referred to the enhanced P200, P250, and P600 amplitudes) in the central and right region of the brain to successfully engage in semantic judgment...
February 2, 2018: Brain and Language
Marc Sato, Douglas M Shiller
In the present EEG study, the role of auditory prediction in speech was explored through the comparison of auditory cortical responses during active speaking and passive listening to the same acoustic speech signals. Two manipulations of sensory prediction accuracy were used during the speaking task: (1) a real-time change in vowel F1 feedback (reducing prediction accuracy relative to unaltered feedback) and (2) presenting a stable auditory target rather than a visual cue to speak (enhancing auditory prediction accuracy during baseline productions, and potentially enhancing the perturbing effect of altered feedback)...
February 2, 2018: Brain and Language
Giovanna Mollo, Elizabeth Jefferies, Piers Cornelissen, Silvia P Gennari
An MEG study investigated the role of context in semantic interpretation by examining the comprehension of ambiguous words in contexts leading to different interpretations. We compared high-ambiguity words in minimally different contexts (to bowl, the bowl) to low-ambiguity counterparts (the tray, to flog). Whole brain beamforming revealed the engagement of left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) and posterior middle temporal gyrus (LPMTG). Points of interest analyses showed that both these sites showed a stronger response to verb-contexts by 200 ms post-stimulus and displayed overlapping ambiguity effects that were sustained from 300 ms onwards...
February 1, 2018: Brain and Language
Helen E Nuttall, Dan Kennedy-Higgins, Joseph T Devlin, Patti Adank
Primary motor (M1) areas for speech production activate during speechperception. It has been suggested that such activation may be dependent upon modulatory inputs from premotor cortex (PMv). If and how PMv differentially modulates M1 activity during perception of speech that is easy or challenging to understand, however, is unclear. This study aimed to test the link between PMv and M1 during challenging speech perception in two experiments. The first experiment investigated intra-hemispheric connectivity between left hemisphere PMv and left M1 lip area during comprehension of speech under clear and distorted listening conditions...
January 31, 2018: Brain and Language
Sattar Khoshkhoo, Matthew K Leonard, Nima Mesgarani, Edward F Chang
Auditory speech comprehension is the result of neural computations that occur in a broad network that includes the temporal lobe auditory cortex and the left inferior frontal cortex. It remains unclear how representations in this network differentially contribute to speech comprehension. Here, we recorded high-density direct cortical activity during a sine-wave speech (SWS) listening task to examine detailed neural speech representations when the exact same acoustic input is comprehended versus not comprehended...
January 31, 2018: Brain and Language
Richard M Arenas, Jody M Shoemaker, John Phillips
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 30, 2018: Brain and Language
Linda Drijvers, Asli Özyürek
Native listeners neurally integrate iconic gestures with speech, which can enhance degraded speech comprehension. However, it is unknown how non-native listeners neurally integrate speech and gestures, as they might process visual semantic context differently than natives. We recorded EEG while native and highly-proficient non-native listeners watched videos of an actress uttering an action verb in clear or degraded speech, accompanied by a matching ('to drive'+driving gesture) or mismatching gesture ('to drink'+mixing gesture)...
January 29, 2018: Brain and Language
Tarkeshwar Singh, Lorelei Phillip, Roozbeh Behroozmand, Ezequiel Gleichgerrcht, Vitória Piai, Julius Fridriksson, Leonardo Bonilha
Picture naming is a language task that involves multiple neural networks and is used to probe aphasia-induced language deficits. The pattern of neural activation seen in healthy individuals during picture naming is disrupted in individuals with aphasia, but the time-course of the disruption remains unclear. Specifically, it remains unclear which anatomical and temporal aspects of neural processing are necessary for correct naming. Here, we tested two individuals with stroke induced aphasia, and compared the differences in the event-related potentials (ERPs) and current sources when they made correct vs...
January 25, 2018: Brain and Language
Andrea Schremm, Mikael Novén, Merle Horne, Pelle Söderström, Danielle van Westen, Mikael Roll
The present study investigated the relationship between linguistic tone processing and cortical thickness of bilateral planum temporale (PT) and pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus (IFGpo). Swedish tones on word stems function as cues to upcoming endings. Correlating structural brain imaging data with participants' response time patterns for suffixes, we found that thicker cortex in the left PT was associated with greater reliance on tones to anticipate upcoming inflections on real words. On inflected pseudoword stems, however, the cortical thickness of left IFGpo was associated with tone-suffix processing...
January 2018: Brain and Language
Beatrice Giustolisi, Alessandra Vergallito, Carlo Cecchetto, Erica Varoli, Leonor J Romero Lauro
We tested the possibility of enhancing natural language comprehension through the application of anodal tDCS (a-tDCS) over the left inferior frontal gyrus, a key region for verbal short-term memory and language comprehension. We designed a between subjects sham- and task-controlled study. During tDCS stimulation, participants performed a sentence to picture matching task in which targets were sentences with different load on short-term memory. Regardless of load on short-term memory, the Anodal group performed significantly better than the Sham group, thus providing evidence that a-tDCS over LIFG enhances natural language comprehension...
January 2018: Brain and Language
Ellen Marklund, Francisco Lacerda, Iris-Corinna Schwarz
The mismatch negativity (MMN) response is influenced by the magnitude of the acoustic difference between standard and deviant, and the response is typically larger to linguistically relevant changes than to linguistically irrelevant changes. Linguistically relevant changes between standard and deviant typically co-occur with differences between the two acoustic signals. It is therefore not straightforward to determine the contribution of each of those two factors to the MMN response. This study investigated whether spectrally rotated speech can be used to determine the impact of the acoustic difference on the MMN response to a combined linguistic and acoustic change between standard and deviant...
January 2018: Brain and Language
Einat Liebenthal, Riikka Möttönen
Mounting evidence indicates a role in perceptual decoding of speech for the dorsal auditory stream connecting between temporal auditory and frontal-parietal articulatory areas. The activation time course in auditory, somatosensory and motor regions during speech processing is seldom taken into account in models of speech perception. We critically review the literature with a focus on temporal information, and contrast between three alternative models of auditory-motor speech processing: parallel, hierarchical, and interactive...
December 18, 2017: Brain and Language
Marie-Lou Barnaud, Pierre Bessière, Julien Diard, Jean-Luc Schwartz
While neurocognitive data provide clear evidence for the involvement of the motor system in speech perception, its precise role and the way motor information is involved in perceptual decision remain unclear. In this paper, we discuss some recent experimental results in light of COSMO, a Bayesian perceptuo-motor model of speech communication. COSMO enables us to model both speech perception and speech production with probability distributions relating phonological units with sensory and motor variables. Speech perception is conceived as a sensory-motor architecture combining an auditory and a motor decoder thanks to a Bayesian fusion process...
December 11, 2017: Brain and Language
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