Dissociating Prediction and Attention Components in Language by Ruth de Diego-Balaguer (ICREA Research Professor – Cognition and Brain Plasticity Unit, Universitat de Barcelona)
Speech is composed of sequences of syllables, words and phrases. These elements unfold in time in specific orders. Thus, acquiring a language requires not only learning each of these representations but also their temporal organisation. The areas conforming the dorsal stream in language has been proposed to have a role in the processing of sequential information. In this talk I will present novel behavioural, developmental and neuroimaging evidence indicating that the roles of the fronto-parietal and fronto temporal connectivity within this dorsal stream can be dissociated in language learning. In addition, I will present data indicating that learning non-adjacent dependencies in language, a core mechanism for the acquisition of syntactic rules, involves both the ability to predict forthcoming elements implicitly and to endogenously orient attention based on the predictive cues learned. This type of learning implies the interface between the language and attention networks during the early stages of language acquisition.