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Evolutionarily conserved neural signatures involved in sequencing predictions and their relevance for language

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yuki Kikuchi, Dr Will Sedley, Professor Tim GriffithsORCiD, Professor Christopher Petkov



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2018 Predicting the occurrence of future events from prior ones is vital for animal perception and cognition. Although how such sequence learning (a form of relational knowledge) relates to particular operations in language remains controversial, recent evidence shows that sequence learning is disrupted in frontal lobe damage associated with aphasia. Also, neural sequencing predictions at different temporal scales resemble those involved in language operations occurring at similar scales. Furthermore, comparative work in humans and monkeys highlights evolutionarily conserved frontal substrates and predictive oscillatory signatures in the temporal lobe processing learned sequences of speech signals. Altogether this evidence supports a relational knowledge hypothesis of language evolution, proposing that language processes in humans are functionally integrated with an ancestral neural system for predictive sequence learning.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kikuchi Y, Sedley W, Griffiths TD, Petkov CI

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences

Year: 2018

Volume: 21

Pages: 145-153

Online publication date: 01/06/2018

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (print): 2352-1546

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2018.05.002