Prediction is Production: The missing link between language production and comprehension
Martin, Clara D.
Branzi, Francesca M.
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Martin, C.D., Branzi, F.M., Bar, M. (2018). Prediction is ProductionThe missing link between language production and comprehension. Scientific Reports, 8, 1079. Doi:10.1038/s41598-018-19499-4
Language comprehension often involves the generation of predictions. It has been hypothesized that such prediction-for-comprehension entails actual language production. Recent studies provided evidence that the production system is recruited during language comprehension, but the link between production and prediction during comprehension remains hypothetical. Here, we tested this hypothesis by comparing prediction during sentence comprehension (primary task) in participants having the production system either available or not (non-verbal versus verbal secondary task). In the primary task, sentences containing an expected or unexpected target noun-phrase were presented during electroencephalography recording. Prediction, measured as the magnitude of the N400 effect elicited by the article (expected versus unexpected), was hindered only when the production system was taxed during sentence context reading. The present study provides the first direct evidence that the availability of the speech production system is necessary for generating lexical prediction during sentence comprehension. Furthermore, these important results provide an explanation for the recruitment of language production during comprehension.