Matthew Nelson


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Entropy Reduction correlates with temporal lobe activity
Matthew Nelson | Stanislas Dehaene | Christophe Pallier | John Hale
Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics (CMCL 2017)

Using the Entropy Reduction incremental complexity metric, we relate high gamma power signals from the brains of epileptic patients to incremental stages of syntactic analysis in English and French. We find that signals recorded intracranially from the anterior Inferior Temporal Sulcus (aITS) and the posterior Inferior Temporal Gyrus (pITG) correlate with word-by-word Entropy Reduction values derived from phrase structure grammars for those languages. In the anterior region, this correlation persists even in combination with surprisal co-predictors from PCFG and ngram models. The result confirms the idea that the brain’s temporal lobe houses a parsing function, one whose incremental processing difficulty profile reflects changes in grammatical uncertainty.