Cloze enough? Hemodynamic effects of predictive processing during natural reading

Sarah Schuster, Nicole Alexandra Himmelstoss, Florian Hutzler*, Fabio Richlan, Martin Kronbichler, Stefan Hawelka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Evidence accrues that readers form multiple hypotheses about upcoming words. The present study investigated the hemodynamic effects of predictive processing during natural reading by means of combining fMRI and eye movement recordings. In particular, we investigated the neural and behavioral correlates of precision-weighted prediction errors, which are thought to be indicative of subsequent belief updating. Participants silently read sentences in which we manipulated the cloze probability and the semantic congruency of the final word that served as an index for precision and prediction error respectively. With respect to the neural correlates, our findings indicate an enhanced activation within the left inferior frontal and middle temporal gyrus suggesting an effect of precision on prediction update in higher (lexico-)semantic levels. Despite being evident at the neural level, we did not observe any evidence that this mechanism resulted in disproportionate reading times on participants' eye movements. The results speak against discrete predictions, but favor the notion that multiple words are activated in parallel during reading.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117687
Early online date30 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012

  • 501 Psychology


  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • lexico-semantic processing
  • predictive coding
  • eye movement control during reading

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