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Oscillatory brain activity differentially reflects false belief understanding and complementation syntax processing

Oscillatory brain activity differentially reflects false belief understanding and complementation syntax processing

Published in: Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, Volume 18, Issue 1, 189-201

Abstract
“False belief understanding (FBU) enables people to consider conflicting beliefs about the same situation. While language has been demonstrated to be a correlate of FBU, there is still controversy about the extent to which a specific aspect of language, complementation syntax, is a necessary condition for FBU. The present study tested an important notion from the debate proposing that complementation syntax task is redundant to FBU measures. Specifically, we examined electrophysiological correlates of false belief, false complementation, and their respective true conditions in adults using electroencephalography (EEG), focusing on indices of oscillatory brain activity and large-scale connectivity. The results showed strong modulation of parieto-occipital alpha (8–12 Hz) and beta (13–20 Hz) power by the experimental manipulations, with heightened sustained alpha power reflective of effortful internal processing observed in the false compared to the true conditions and reliable beta power reductions sensitive to mentalizing and/or syntactic demands in the belief versus the complementation conditions. In addition, higher coupling between parieto-occipital regions and widespread frontal sites in the beta band was found for the false-belief condition selectively. The result of divergence in beta oscillatory activity and in connectivity between false belief and false complementation does not support the redundancy hypothesis.”

Written by: Yao Guan, M. Jeffrey Farrar, Andreas Keil
For full text: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-018-0565-9

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