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Miozzo, M., Pulvermüller, F., & Hauk, O. (2015) Early parallel activation of semantics and phonology in picture naming: Evidence from a multiple linear regression MEG study.

News vom 20.11.2015

The time course of brain activation during word production has become an area of increasingly intense investigation in cognitive neuroscience. The predominant view has been that semantic and phonological processes are activated sequentially, at about 150 and 200–400 ms after picture onset. Although evidence from prior studies has been interpreted as supporting this view, these studies were arguably not ideally suited to detect early brain activation of semantic and phonological processes. We here used a multiple linear regression approach to magnetoencephalography (MEG) analysis of picture naming in order to investigate early effects of variables specifically related to visual, semantic, and phonological processing. This was combined with distributed minimum-norm source estimation and region-of-interest analysis. Brain activation associated with visual image complexity appeared in occipital cortex at about 100 ms after picture presentation onset. At about 150 ms, semantic variables became physiologically manifest in left frontotemporal regions. In the same latency range, we found an effect of phonological variables in the left middle temporal gyrus. Our results demonstrate that multiple linear regression analysis is sensitive to early effects of multiple psycholinguistic variables in picture naming. Crucially, our results suggest that access to phonological information might begin in parallel with semantic processing around 150 ms after picture onset.

Miozzo, M., Pulvermüller, F., & Hauk, O. 2015. Early parallel activation of semantics and phonology in picture naming: Evidence from a multiple linear regression MEG study. Cerebral Cortex25(10), 3343-3355. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu137.

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