We propose that a recently discovered event-related potential (ERP) component—the pre-activation negativity (PrAN)—indexes the predictive strength of phonological cues, including segments, word tones, and sentence-level tones. Specifically, we argue that PrAN is a reflection of the brain’s anticipation of upcoming speech (segments, morphemes, words, and syntactic structures). Findings from a long series of neurolinguistic studies indicate that the effect can be divided into two time windows with different possible brain sources. Between 136 and 200 ms from stimulus onset, it indexes activity mainly in the primary and secondary auditory cortices, reflecting disinhibition of neurons sensitive to the expected acoustic signal, as indicated by the brain regions’ response to predictive certainty rather than sound salience. After ~200 ms, PrAN is related to activity in Broca’s area, possibly reflecting inhibition of irrelevant segments, morphemes, words, and syntactic structures.
- Jämförande språkvetenskap och lingvistik
- Annan medicinteknik