Predictive coding of phonological rules in auditory cortex: A mismatch negativity study

Sari Ylinen, Milla Huuskonen, Katri Mikkola, Emma Emerentia Esmeralda Saure, Tara Sinkkonen, Petri Paavilainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The brain is constantly generating predictions of future sensory input to enable efficient adaptation. In the auditory domain, this applies also to the processing of speech. Here we aimed to determine whether the brain predicts the following segments of speech input on the basis of language-specific phonological rules that concern non-adjacent phonemes. Auditory event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded in a mismatch negativity (MMN) paradigm, where the Finnish vowel harmony, determined by the first syllables of pseudowords, either constrained or did not constrain the phonological composition of pseudoword endings. The phonological rule of vowel harmony was expected to create predictions about phonologically legal pseudoword endings. Results showed that MMN responses were larger for phonologically illegal than legal pseudowords, and P3a was elicited only for illegal pseudowords. This supports the hypothesis that speech input is evaluated against context-dependent phonological predictions that facilitate speech processing. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain and Language
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 515 Psychology
  • 6161 Phonetics

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