Predictive coding across the left fronto-temporal hierarchy during language comprehension


Wang, L., Schoot, L., Brothers, T. A., Alexander, E., Warnke, L., Kim, M., Khan, S., et al. (2022). Predictive coding across the left fronto-temporal hierarchy during language comprehension. Cerebral Cortex.


We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) and event-related potentials (ERPs) to track the time-course and localization of evoked activity produced by expectedunexpected plausible, and implausible words during incremental language comprehension. We suggest that the full pattern of results can be explained within a hierarchical predictive coding framework in which increased evoked activity reflects the activation of residual information that was not already represented at a given level of the fronto-temporal hierarchy (“error” activity). Between 300 and 500 ms, the three conditions produced progressively larger responses within left temporal cortex (lexico-semantic prediction error), whereas implausible inputs produced a selectively enhanced response within inferior frontal cortex (prediction error at the level of the event model). Between 600 and 1,000 ms, unexpected plausible words activated left inferior frontal and middle temporal cortices (feedback activity that produced top-down error), whereas highly implausible inputs activated left inferior frontal cortex, posterior fusiform (unsuppressed orthographic prediction error/reprocessing), and medial temporal cortex (possibly supporting new learning). Therefore, predictive coding may provide a unifying theory that links language comprehension to other domains of cognition.

DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhac356

Last updated on 12/06/2022