Perceptual facilitation of word recognition through motor activation during sentence comprehension
Monsalve, Irene F.
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Nicola Molinaro, Irene F. Monsalve, Perceptual facilitation of word recognition through motor activation during sentence comprehension, Cortex, Volume 108, 2018, Pages 144-159, ISSN 0010-9452, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2018.07.001.
Despite the growing literature on anticipatory language processing, the brain dynamics of this high-level predictive process are still unclear. In the present MEG study, we analyzed pre- and post-stimulus oscillatory activity time-locked to the reading of a target word. We experimentally contrasted the processing of the same target word following two highly constraining sentence contexts, in which the constraint was driven either by the semantic content or by the lexical association between words. Previous research suggests the presence of sensory facilitation for expected words in the latter condition but not in the former. We observed a dissociation between beta (∼20 Hz) and gamma (>50 Hz) band activity in pre- and post-stimulus time intervals respectively. Both the beta and gamma effects were evident in occipital brain regions, and only the pre-stimulus beta effect additionally involved left pre-articulatory motor regions. Lexically constrained (vs. semantically constrained) words elicited reduced beta power around 400 msec before the target word in motor regions and a functionally related gamma enhancement in occipital regions around 200 msec post-target. The present findings highlight the role of the motor network in word-form prediction and support proposals claiming that low-level perceptual representations can be pre-activated during language prediction.