Article

Dissociable effects of prediction and integration during language comprehension: evidence from a large-scale study using brain potentials

Citation

Nieuwland MS, Barr DJ, Bartolozzi F, Busch-Moreno S, Darley E, Donaldson DI, Ferguson HJ, Fu X, Heyselaar E, Huettig F, Husband EM, Ito A, Kazanina N, Kogan V & Kohut Z (2020) Dissociable effects of prediction and integration during language comprehension: evidence from a large-scale study using brain potentials. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, 375 (1791), Art. No.: 20180522. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2018.0522

Abstract
Composing sentence meaning is easier for predictable words than for unpredictable words. Are predictable words genuinely predicted, or simply more plausible and therefore easier to integrate with sentence context? We addressed this persistent and fundamental question using data from a recent, large-scale (n = 334) replication study, by investigating the effects of word predictability and sentence plausibility on the N400, the brain's electrophysiological index of semantic processing. A spatio-temporally fine-grained mixed-effect multiple regression analysis revealed overlapping effects of predictability and plausibility on the N400, albeit with distinct spatio-temporal profiles. Our results challenge the view that the predictability-dependent N400 reflects the effects of either prediction or integration, and suggest that semantic facilitation of predictable words arises from a cascade of processes that activate and integrate word meaning with context into a sentence-level meaning.

Keywords
plausibility; predictability; N400; semantic similarity

Notes
Additional co-authors: Eugenia Kulakova, Diane Mézière, Stephen Politzer-Ahles, Guillaume Rousselet, Shirley-Ann Rueschemeyer, Katrien Segaert, Jyrki Tuomainen and Sarah Von Grebmer Zu Wolfsthurn

Journal
Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences: Volume 375, Issue 1791

StatusPublished
FundersEuropean Commission (Horizon 2020)
Publication date29/02/2020
Publication date online16/12/2019
Date accepted by journal16/01/2019
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/30581
ISSN0962-8436
eISSN1471-2970