This article is based on an address presented upon receipt of the Award for Distinguished Early Career Contributions to Psychophysiology at the 46th annual meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Vancouver, BC, Canada, October 2006.
Thinking ahead: The role and roots of prediction in language comprehension
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2007
Volume 44, Issue 4, pages 491–505, July 2007
How to Cite
Federmeier, K. D. (2007), Thinking ahead: The role and roots of prediction in language comprehension. Psychophysiology, 44: 491–505. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00531.x
Thanks to Marta Kutas for many years of collaboration and mentorship and to the members of the Cognition and Brain Laboratory at the University of Illinois (especially Karen Evans, Padmapriya Kandhadai, Sarah Laszlo, Chia-lin Lee, Aaron Meyer, and Edward Wlotko) for hard work and helpful feedback. Support from NIA grant AG026308 is gratefully acknowledged.
- Issue published online: 22 MAY 2007
- Article first published online: 22 MAY 2007
- (Received December 23, 2006; Accepted March 27, 2007)
- Event-related potentials;
- Sentence processing;
- Hemispheric differences
Reviewed are studies using event-related potentials to examine when and how sentence context information is used during language comprehension. Results suggest that, when it can, the brain uses context to predict features of likely upcoming items. However, although prediction seems important for comprehension, it also appears susceptible to age-related deterioration and can be associated with processing costs. The brain may address this trade-off by employing multiple processing strategies, distributed across the two cerebral hemispheres. In particular, left hemisphere language processing seems to be oriented toward prediction and the use of top-down cues, whereas right hemisphere comprehension is more bottom-up, biased toward the veridical maintenance of information. Such asymmetries may arise, in turn, because language comprehension mechanisms are integrated with language production mechanisms only in the left hemisphere (the PARLO framework).