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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Gregory S. Berns, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, 1639 Pierce Drive Suite 4000, Atlanta, GA 30322. E-mail: gberns@emory.edu


Research Funding:

This work was supported by the Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology, Emory University School of Medicine, the Stanley Foundation (G.S.B.), National Institute on Drug Abuse (Grant K08 DA00367 to G.S.B.), and a National Science Foundation Markey fellowship (A.B.G.).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Neurosciences
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • functional imaging
  • Wernicke's area
  • predictability
  • sequences
  • nonverbal grammar
  • awareness
  • entropy
  • Spatial working memory
  • Brain activation
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Cortex activation
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Auditory cortex
  • Attention
  • Pet
  • Humas
  • Task

Conscious and unconscious processing of nonverbal predictability in Wernicke's area


Journal Title:

Journal of Neuroscience


Volume 20, Number 5


, Pages 1975-1981

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


The association of nonverbal predictability and brain activation was examined using functional magnetic resonance imaging in humans. Participants regarded four squares displayed horizontally across a screen and counted the incidence of a particular color. A repeating spatial sequence with varying levels of predictability was embedded within a random color presentation. Both Wernicke's area and its right homolog displayed a negative correlation with temporal predictability, and this effect was independent of individuals' conscious awareness of the sequence. When individuals were made aware of the underlying sequential predictability, a widespread network of cortical regions displayed activity that correlated with the predictability. Conscious processing of predictability resulted in a positive correlation to activity in right prefrontal cortex but a negative correlation in posterior parietal cortex. These results suggest that conscious processing of predictability invokes a large-scale cortical network, but independently of awareness, Wernicke's area processes predictive events in time and may not be exclusively associated with language.

Copyright information:

© 2000 Society for Neuroscience.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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