Lookup NU author(s): Alice Milne,
Professor Christopher Petkov
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
There is considerable interest in understanding the ontogeny and phylogeny of the human language system, yet, neurobiological work at the interface of both fields is absent. Syntactic processes in language build on sensory processing and sequencing capabilities on the side of the receiver. While we better understand language-related ontogenetic changes in the human brain, it remains a mystery how neurobiological processes at specific human development stages compare with those in phylogenetically closely related species. To address this knowledge gap, we measured EEG event-related potentials (ERPs) in two macaque monkeys using a paradigm developed to evaluate human infant and adult brain potentials associated with the processing of non-adjacent ordering relationships in sequences of syllable triplets. Frequent standard triplet sequences were interspersed with infrequent voice pitch or non-adjacent rule deviants. Monkey ERPs show early pitch and rule deviant mismatch responses that are strikingly similar to those previously reported in human infants. This stands in contrast to adults' later ERP responses for rule deviants. The results reveal how non-adjacent sequence ordering relationships are processed in the primate brain and provide evidence for evolutionarily conserved neurophysiological effects, some of which are remarkably like those seen at an early human developmental stage.
Author(s): Milne AE, Mueller JL, Mannel C, Attaheri A, Friederici AD, Petkov CI
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Scientific Reports
Online publication date: 09/11/2016
Acceptance date: 12/10/2016
Date deposited: 18/01/2017
ISSN (print): 2045-2322
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
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