Brain imaging and conceptions of the lexicon

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Neuroimaging plays an increasingly important role in the investigation of all aspects of human cognition, including language. Historically, experimental psychology and neuroimaging relied on very different techniques, as neuroimaging studies required comparisons between different tasks rather than manipulation of conditions within a single task, as is standard in behavioural experiments. However, methodology has advanced in the past decade such that many classic behavioural paradigms can now be employed in studies that measure brain activity. We review the technical foundations of conducting studies on single-trial brain responses, using event-related fMRI and electrophysiological recordings. We focus in particular on studies of picture naming, illustrating how the same techniques that were originally used to define temporal processing stages in reaction time studies can now be applied to brain imaging studies to reveal the neural localization of those stages.


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