Brain indexes of semantic and pragmatic prediction (Dissertationsprojekt)
Institut für Deutsche und Niederländische Philologie - Brain Language Lab
Although the role of prediction in language and communication processing is widely acknowledged, there exist few brain indexes that directly map the neurophysiological correlates of prediction as these emerge in real time. Most studies use event-related activity elicited after the predicted (or not predicted) linguistic forms, e.g., the N400 to semantically expected or unexpected words, and more recently, speech acts. in my project, I will use the readiness potential to directly map the emergence of prediction correlates in the course of communications between two people. Participants will engage in different interactive language games while predictive brain responses will be measured with EEG or fMRI and, eventually, MEG. TMS will be applied to find out whether local stimulation can specifically interfere with communicative predictions. My project will also examine the role of sentence context, where semantic predictions in affirmative and negated sentences will be contrasted. We expect to find new brain indexes of semantic and pragmatic predictions, which will be used to directly assess current theories of alignment between communication partners in different types of conversations.