EEG theta and gamma responses to semantic violations in online sentence processing

L.E. Hald, MCM Bastiaansen, P. Hagoort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


We explore the nature of the oscillatory dynamics in the EEG of subjects reading sentences that contain a semantic violation. More specifically, we examine whether increases in theta (≈3–7 Hz) and gamma (around 40 Hz) band power occur in response to sentences that were either semantically correct or contained a semantically incongruent word (semantic violation). ERP results indicated a classical N400 effect. A wavelet-based time-frequency analysis revealed a theta band power increase during an interval of 300–800 ms after critical word onset, at temporal electrodes bilaterally for both sentence conditions, and over midfrontal areas for the semantic violations only. In the gamma frequency band, a predominantly frontal power increase was observed during the processing of correct sentences. This effect was absent following semantic violations. These results provide a characterization of the oscillatory brain dynamics, and notably of both theta and gamma oscillations, that occur during language comprehension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-105
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'EEG theta and gamma responses to semantic violations in online sentence processing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this