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Neuronal oscillations in discourse comprehension


Lewis,  Ashley Glen
International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, Nijmegen, NL;
Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, External Organizations;

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Lewis, A. G. (2013). Neuronal oscillations in discourse comprehension. Talk presented at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Linguistics Department [Invited Seminar]. Durban, South Africa. 2013-02-20.

Oscillatory neuronal dynamics during language comprehension has been investigated at the level of single words, and whole sentences. We have recently extended this work to investigate the influence of discourse-level factors on oscillatory activity measured using electroencephalography (EEG). This talk will be divided into three parts. First, I shall provide some background about discourse comprehension and its place in models of language processing. This will include an introduction to the memory, unification, and control (MUC) framework and how it allows us to relate such processing models to neural circuitry. Second, I shall sketch the background necessary to understand what neuronal oscillations tell us about how the brain processes language. Finally, I shall present some of our own findings illustrating that neuronal oscillations can allow us to track changes in the brain as readers comprehend (or fail to comprehend) short discourses.