Predictive neural computations support spoken word recognition: evidence from meg and competitor priming

Wang, Yingcan Carol, Sohoglu, Ediz, Gilbert, Rebecca A, Henson, Richard N and Davis, Matthew H (2021) Predictive neural computations support spoken word recognition: evidence from meg and competitor priming. The Journal of Neuroscience. ISSN 0270-6474

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Human listeners achieve quick and effortless speech comprehension through computations of conditional probability using Bayes rule. However, the neural implementation of Bayesian perceptual inference remains unclear. Competitive-selection accounts (e.g. TRACE) propose that word recognition is achieved through direct inhibitory connections between units representing candidate words that share segments (e.g. hygiene and hijack share/haidʒ/). Manipulations that increase lexical uncertainty should increase neural responses associated with word recognition when words cannot be uniquely identified. In contrast, predictive-selection accounts (e.g. Predictive-Coding) proposes that spoken word recognition involves comparing heard and predicted speech sounds and using prediction error to update lexical representations. Increased lexical uncertainty in words like hygiene and hijack will increase prediction error and hence neural activity only at later time points when different segments are predicted. We collected MEG data from male and female listeners to test these two Bayesian mechanisms and used a competitor priming manipulation to change the prior probability of specific words. Lexical decision responses showed delayed recognition of target words (hygiene) following presentation of a neighbouring prime word (hijack) several minutes earlier. However, this effect was not observed with pseudoword primes (higent) or targets (hijure). Crucially, MEG responses in the STG showed greater neural responses for word-primed words after the point at which they were uniquely identified (after/haidʒ/in hygiene) but not before while similar changes were again absent for pseudowords. These findings are consistent with accounts of spoken word recognition in which neural computations of prediction error play a central role.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2021 08:07
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2021 13:30

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