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Title: Amplification of local changes along the timescale processing hierarchy
Contributors: Yeshurun, Yaara
Nguyen, Mai
Hasson, Uri
Issue Date: Aug-2017
Abstract: Small changes in word choice can lead to dramatically different interpretations of narratives. How does the brain accumulate and integrate such local changes to construct unique neural representations for different stories? In this study we created two distinct narratives by changing only a few words in each sentence (e.g. “he” to “she” or “sobbing” to “laughing”) while preserving the grammatical structure across stories. We then measured changes in neural responses between the two stories. We found that the differences in neural responses between the two stories gradually increased along the hierarchy of processing timescales. For areas with short integration windows, such as early auditory cortex, the differences in neural responses between the two stories were relatively small. In contrast, in areas with the longest integration windows at the top of the hierarchy, such as the precuneus, temporal parietal junction, and medial frontal cortices, there were large differences in neural responses between stories. Furthermore, this gradual increase in neural difference between the stories was highly correlated with an area’s ability to integrate information over time. Amplification of neural differences did not occur when changes in words did not alter the interpretation of the story (e.g. “sobbing” to “crying”). Our results demonstrate how subtle differences in words are gradually accumulated and amplified along the cortical hierarchy as the brain constructs a narrative over time.
Description: This dataset contains of 18 subjects passively listening to an audio Story1 (“MilkyWay”) and 18 subjects passively listening to an audio Story2 (“Vodka”). Each subject has one functional run of 297 TRs, during which s/he heard an audio story (“Milky Way” or “Vodka”), while viewing a gray screen. Subjects were instructed to attend to the details of the narrative. Download the README.txt file for a detailed description of this dataset's content
Appears in Collections:Research Data Sets

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milkyway_vodka_archive.tar.gz3.53 GBUnknownView/Download

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