New Science About Words

Cognitive scientists have come to view the brain as a prediction machine, constantly comparing what is happening around us to expectations based on experience -- and considering what should happen next.

"These predictions, most of them unconscious, include predicting what we're about to see," says Gary Lupyan, a University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology professor.

Work in Lupyan's lab has demonstrated the predictive process through manipulating the connection between language and vision in the brain. A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience shows that words have a profound effect even on the first electrical twitches of perception.

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