Lexical representation explains cortical entrainment during speech comprehension

Stefan Frank, Jinbiao Yang

Results from a recent neuroimaging study on spoken sentence comprehension have been interpreted as evidence for cortical entrainment to hierarchical syntactic structure. We present a simple computational model that predicts the power spectra from this study, even though the model's linguistic knowledge is restricted to the lexical level, and word-level representations are not combined into higher-level units (phrases or sentences). Hence, the cortical entrainment results can also be explained from the lexical properties of the stimuli, without recourse to hierarchical syntax.

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