Chapter 1 Time for Meaning. Electrophysiology Provides Insights into the Dynamics of Representation and Processing in Semantic Memory

Kara D. Federmeier, Sarah Laszlo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

At least since the time of Aristotle, humans have been fascinated with trying to understand how meaning is represented in what, in modern terms, has come to be known as semantic memory. Behavioral science, computational modeling, neuropsychology, hemodynamic imaging, and electrophysiological techniques have all been applied to the task of delineating how semantic memory is instantiated in the brain. As reviewed in this chapter, the collective data from these methods are providing an increasingly detailed picture of the functional and neural organization of semantic memory. What remains less clear are the dynamics of how meaning is accessed and used. Those dynamics, however, are beginning to be revealed by data from temporally sensitive measures, such as electrophysiology. In particular, studies of the N400 event-related potential (ERP) component suggest that considerations of time may hold the key to understanding how information represented in disparate areas of the brain comes to be bound in the structured-yet-flexible manner that is the hallmark of human semantic processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Psychology of Learning and Motivation
EditorsBrian Ross
Pages1-44
Number of pages44
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 21 2009
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePsychology of Learning and Motivation - Advances in Research and Theory
Volume51
ISSN (Print)0079-7421

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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    Federmeier, K. D., & Laszlo, S. (2009). Chapter 1 Time for Meaning. Electrophysiology Provides Insights into the Dynamics of Representation and Processing in Semantic Memory. In B. Ross (Ed.), The Psychology of Learning and Motivation (pp. 1-44). (Psychology of Learning and Motivation - Advances in Research and Theory; Vol. 51). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0079-7421(09)51001-8