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Title: Occipital and orbitofrontal hemodynamics during naturally paced reading: an fNIRS study.
Authors: Hofmann, Markus J.
Dambacher, Michael
Jacobs, Arthur M.
Kliegl, Reinhold
Radach, Ralph
Kuchinke, Lars
Plichta, Michael M.
Fallgatter, Andreas J.
Herrmann, Martin J.
First Published: 15-Mar-2014
Publisher: Elsevier for Academic Press
Citation: Neuroimage, 2014, 94, pp. 193-202
Abstract: Humans typically read at incredibly fast rates, because they predict likely occurring words from a given context. Here, we used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to track the ultra-rapid hemodynamic responses of words presented every 280 ms in a naturally paced sentence context. We found a lower occipital deoxygenation to unpredictable than to predictable words. The greater hemodynamic responses to unexpected words suggest that the visual features of expected words have been pre-activated previous to stimulus presentation. Second, we tested opposing theoretical proposals about the role of the medial orbitofrontal cortex (OFC): Either OFC may respond to the breach of expectation; or OFC is activated when the present stimulus matches the prediction. A significant interaction between word frequency and predictability indicated OFC responses to breaches of expectation for low- but not for high-frequency words: OFC is sensitive to both, bottom-up processing as mediated by word frequency, as well as top-down predictions. Particularly, when a rare word is unpredictable, OFC becomes active. Finally, we discuss how a high temporal resolution can help future studies to disentangle the hemodynamic responses of single trials in such an ultra-rapid event succession as naturally paced reading.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.03.014
ISSN: 1053-8119
eISSN: 1095-9572
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2015, Elsevier. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website. Following the embargo period this version is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License ( ), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

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