Complex, unfamiliar sentences make the brain’s language network work harder, study reveals

MIT neuroscientists used an artificial language network to identify what kind of sentences are most likely to stimulate the brain’s key language processing centers. Their research reveals that sentences with unusual grammar or unexpected meanings generate stronger responses in these language processing centers. They found that the brain network is most active when reading unusual sentences, but goes quiet when reading very straightforward sentences. The researchers developed a “closed-loop” approach to predict how the human language network would respond to new sentences, based on the artificial language network’s response to existing sentences. The study also suggests that linguistic complexity is a key factor in activating the brain’s language processing regions.

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