Decoding the cortical dynamics of sound-meaning mapping

Abstract Comprehending speech involves the rapid and optimally efficient mapping from sound to meaning. Influential cognitive models of spoken word recognition (Marslen-Wilson and Welsh, 1978) propose that the onset of a spoken word initiates a continuous process of activation of the lexical and semantic properties of the word candidates matching the speech input, and competition between them which continues until the point at which the word is differentiated from all other cohort candidates (the uniqueness point, UP). At this point the word is uniquely recognized and only the target word’s semantics are active. Although it is well-established that spoken word recognition engages the superior (Rauschecker and Scott, 2009), middle and inferior temporal cortices (Hickok and Poeppel, 2007), little is known about the real-time brain activity that underpins the computations and…


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