Integration of word meaning and world knowledge in language comprehension

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Although the sentences that we hear or read have meaning, this does not necessarily mean that they are also true. Relatively little is known about the critical brain structures for, and the relative time course of, establishing the meaning and truth of linguistic expressions. We present electroencephalogram data that show the rapid parallel integration of both semantic and world knowledge during the interpretation of a sentence. Data from functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that the left inferior prefrontal cortex is involved in the integration of both meaning and world knowledge. Finally, oscillatory brain responses indicate that the brain keeps a record of what makes a sentence hard to interpret.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-441
Issue number5669
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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