What are naturalistic comprehension paradigms teaching us about language?

Uri Hasson, Giovanna Egidi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Naturalistic paradigms of language comprehension offer a potential wealth of information for understanding how language processing occurs in everyday use. This information, however, is not immediately apparent and can only be interpreted when considering (1) basic processes that underlie language comprehension (e.g., memory encoding, memory retrieval, integration, prediction of incoming content), (2) processes that modulate or accompany comprehension (e.g., mood effects, attentional biases, emotional responses), and (3) the relation between language-induced activity and pre-existing, semantically rich baseline processes in the brain. Considering these issues conjointly, we outline a general interpretive framework for naturalistic studies of language. We argue that ignoring such issues can lead to serious misinterpretations of neurobiological data. Introduction The study of natural language has been a topic of increasing interest in recent years. As outlined in other chapters in this collection, two central aspects of this line of research have been the departure from studying processes strictly limited to the scope of single words or sentences and a strong interest in characterizing the neurobiology of language processing as it occurs in natural circumstances. Our focus in this chapter will mostly be on the contribution of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to this enterprise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCognitive Neuroscience of Natural Language Use
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781107323667
ISBN (Print)9781107042018
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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