Predicting the future in a fraction of a second: psycholinguistic and neurophysiological investigations of rapid within-word pre-activation in spoken language

Project: Research

Project Details


In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the brain constantly tries to anticipate the future, essentially functioning as a ‘prediction machine’. For example, when processing language, listeners try to predict what the speaker is going to say next in order to rapidly and effortlessly understand what is being talked about. The present project investigates the neural underpinnings of language pre-activation, specifically the neurophysiological indices of rapid, within-word prediction taking place within hundredths of a second.
Specifically, the project investigates the pre-activation negativity (PrAN) – a brain potential discovered during the course of Dr Söderström's doctoral studies – in unprecedented temporal and spatial detail, by carefully controlling lexical, phonetic and phonological factors, and by modulating the predictability of individual phonemes and word endings.
Effective start/end date2018/01/012020/12/31


  • Swedish Research Council