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Bilateral semantic processing: Inferences in language, insight in problem solving Mark Jung-Beeman Northwestern University Department of Psychology Neuroscience.

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Presentation on theme: "Bilateral semantic processing: Inferences in language, insight in problem solving Mark Jung-Beeman Northwestern University Department of Psychology Neuroscience."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bilateral semantic processing: Inferences in language, insight in problem solving Mark Jung-Beeman Northwestern University Department of Psychology Neuroscience Institute Cognitive Brain Mapping Group \

2 Bilateral semantic processing: Inferences in language, insight in problem solving Northwestern University Drexel University Zoe Clancy John Kounios Jason Haberman (UCDavis)Debbie Green Sandra Virtue (Depaul U)Jennifer Frymiare (U Wisc) Stella Arambel (deceased) Jessica Fleck Dianne PattersonRichard Greenblatt Todd Parrish Paul Reber Bar-Ilan University Terri SwanMiriam Faust Karuna Subramaniam Nira Mashal Ed Bowden Research sponsored by NIDCD/NIH

3 OUTLINE: Drawing inferences from stories -- bilateral comprehension Three bilateral component semantic processes (to start) Insight -- bilateral, parallel processing during problem solving Bilateral semantic processing: Inferences in language, insight in problem solving

4 Bilateral Activation, Integration, and Selection model of semantic processing Semantic activation - Wernickes area –Bottom-up lexical-semantic activation: index of semantic representations (pMTG) Semantic integration - anterior Sup. Temp. Gyrus –Compute semantic overlap - detect or generate (aSTG) Semantic selection - Inf. Frontal Gyrus –Select among competing activated concepts (IFG)

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6 OUTLINE: Drawing inferences from stories -- bilateral comprehension Three bilateral component semantic processes (to start) Insight -- bilateral, parallel processing during problem solving Bilateral semantic processing: Inferences in language, insight in problem solving

7 Problems with view that language is purely a LH function General anatomical symmetry RH damaged patients - some language problems Recovery from aphasia, hemispherectomy, callosotomy Neuroimaging - always some RH signal, some tasks RH>LH Some tasks lvf-RH better than rvf-LH

8 Natural language, stories, discourse Higher level semantic processing (plus all lower levels) As language input more complex (and natural): More anterior temporal lobes More bilateral processing Brain bases of comprehension of natural language

9 Causal bridging (coherence) inferences Before going to the wedding, John was sitting around in his jeans, so he went to his bedroom to find some clothes. Brain bases of cognitive processes when people draw inferences from stories

10 Causal bridging (coherence) inferences Before going to the wedding, John was sitting around in his jeans, so he went to his bedroom to find some clothes. He came out wearing his tuxedo, which had belonged to John's father, but looked like new. Brain bases of cognitive processes when people draw inferences from stories

11 Causal bridging (coherence) inferences Before going to the wedding, John was sitting around in his jeans, so he went to his bedroom to find some clothes. He came out wearing his tuxedo, which had belonged to John's father, but looked like new.CHANGE Brain bases of cognitive processes when people draw inferences from stories

12 We know people make such causal inferences We know a lot about other types of inferences that people make - types of text, motivation, knowledge, capacity We still dont know much about component processes that support this seemingly complex behavior Brain bases of cognitive processes when people draw inferences from stories

13 RHD patients have difficulty drawing inferences Answer questions about inferable events less accurately than control subjects; intact on explicitly stated facts (Brownell et al., 1986; Beeman, 1993) Do not show inference-related priming; control subjects do (Beeman, 1993) RH semantic processing and inferences

14 Proposed component processes of inference generation 1) Activation / integration (detect overlap) 2) Selection 3) Incorporation / integration (map overlap) Hemispheric cooperation RH activates information that may support inferences. Weak activation not reach consciousness.

15 Time course of inference related semantic activation in both hemispheres during story comprehension., 2 tes, 3 4 5Before going to the wedding, John was sitting around in his jeans, 1 so he went to his bedroom to find some clothes. 2 After a few minutes, 3 he came out wearing his tuxedo, 4 which had belonged to John's father 5, but was still fashionable and looked like new. - CHANGE (1) and (2): Predictive inference. (3): Transition. (4): Coherence or bridging inference. (5): Resolved and incorporated.

16 Right visual field Left Hemisphere Right Hemisphere Left visual field

17 Before going to the wedding, John was sitting around in his jeans, 1 so he went to his bedroom to find some clothes. 2 After a few minutes, 3 he came out wearing his tuxedo, 4 which had belonged to John's father 5, but was still fashionable and looked like new. Brain and Language, 2000 Priming: Inference faster than Unrel

18 Asymmetric dynamic semantic fields: relatively coarser coding in RH; better selection in LH foot CUT TOES RULER Right HemisphereLeft Hemisphere Small but strongly activated; Focused on dominant or contextually relevant concepts - easy to select, interpret, output Large but weakly activated; Diffuse, including secondary and less relevant concepts - hard to select, output

19 foot pain glass pain foot RH coarse semantic coding: Increased likelihood of semantic overlap for distant semantic relations

20 Bilateral Activation, Integration, and Selection model of semantic processing Semantic activation - Wernickes area –Bottom-up lexical-semantic activation: index of semantic representations (pMTG) Semantic integration - anterior Sup. Temp. Gyrus –Compute semantic overlap - detect or generate (aSTG) Semantic selection - Inf. Frontal Gyrus –Select among competing activated concepts (IFG)

21 RH Middle & superior temporal gyrus involved in computing semantic integration Deriving theme from paragraphs (St. George et al.) Generating best ending (Kirchner et al.) Generating inferences? - moderately related sentence pairs (Mason & Just) Metaphoric over literal sentences (Bottini et al.) Detecting temporal/emotional inconsistency (Ferstl) Generating insight solutions (Jung-Beeman et al; Kounios et al)

22 Brain activity when people draw inferences on-line, as indexed by fMRI Three ways to contrast inference versus no-inference conditions: - Text: infernce versus no-inference; strong vs. weak constraint - Individual differences: high versus low Working Memory - Behavioral measures: recall of inferences General Results: Bilateral activity in pMTG; aSTG; IFG - modulated by constraint, WM, time

23 Brain activity when people draw inferences on-line, as indexed by fMRI Inference: … John was going to a wedding, but he had been sitting around the house in his jeans, so he went to his bedroom to find some clothes. Soon he came out wearing his tuxedo, * … Explicit: …went to his bedroom to change his clothes. Soon he came out wearing his tuxedo, * … - High baseline, ongoing stories; small input difference

24 Semantic integration at moment of implied events: Predominantly RH aSTG

25 L RPost Ant L R Semantic integration at event point: Bilateral anterior Superior Temporal Gyrus L R Lower (ns) threshold, selected for LH STG

26 Semantic activation and integration at coherence break (tuxedo): Predominantly LH STG

27 Semantic selection: High versus low working memory High WM (reading span) subs show stronger, earlier evidence of semantic selection of inferences (St. George et al; many behavioral) Completion requires selection, incorporation

28 Semantic selection: Inferior frontal gyrus Selecting some concepts over competitors Usually IFG in LH (Thompson-Schill et al; Barch; Friston) Some instances, RH IFG (Seger 2000; Friederici et al., 2000; Jung-Beeman et al.)

29 Semantic selection: Inferior frontal gyrus Selecting some concepts over competitors Usually IFG in LH (Thompson-Schill et al; Barch; Friston) Some instances, RH IFG Unusual verb generation (cake -> decorate) (Seger 2000) Repair grammatical errors (Friederici et al., 2000) Utilize unintended meaning of ambiguous words in sentence – –(Jung-Beeman et al.)

30 Semantic selection: fMRI signal in IFG (LH > RH) at coherence break in High WM subs only (Fig: High WM > Low WM)

31 Replication and extension: Working memory and predictability Unpredictable inferences: LH activation, IFG, pSTG searching for connections Predictable inferences: Bilateral activation, IFG, pSTG building on connections Higher WM (n=13) > lower WM (n=13): building on connections facile comprehension

32 RH pSTG Successful integration versus continued activation: STG in High vs. Low WM subs at coherence break, Predictable inferences RH IFG High WM subs show bilateral (stronger in RH) Low WM show LH only p<.001

33 Replication and extension: Working memory and predictability Unpredictable inferences: LH activation, IFG, pSTG searching for connections Predictable inferences: Bilateral activation, IFG, pSTG building on connections Higher WM (n=13) > lower WM (n=13): RH activation, pSTG, IFG, and a little aSTG building on connections facile comprehension

34 Successful integration versus continued activation: STG in High vs. Low WM subs at coherence break, Predictable inferences RH aSTG High WM subs show bilateral (stronger in RH) Low WM show LH only, no aSTG p<.005

35 Replication and extension: Working memory and predictability Unpredictable inferences: LH activation, IFG, pSTG searching for connections Predictable inferences: Bilateral activation, IFG, pSTG building on connections Higher WM (n=13) > lower WM (n=13): RH activation, pSTG, IFG, and a little aSTG building on connections facile comprehension

36 Conclusions about inferences Semantic integration builds up as story hints that some event might occur: anterior STG; RH (?) At coherence break: integration and activation (STG), especially in LH completing the inference requires selection (IFG) RH contributes to facile inferencing/comprehension, not just kick in when demands are high

37 Current projects, Future directions Shift semantic distance for integration --> shift hemi asymmetry Closely tie to behavioral markers of inference activation, selection, incorporation – –Recall of inferences – –Priming of inferences Successful integration versus effort of difficult integration – –Incorporation (recall study)

38 Recalled inferences If inferences recalled, must have been incorporated Working Memory correlates with – –total recall – –Recall of inferences – –NOT with recall of episodes w/o inferences Contrast fMRI signal of recalled infs versus recall episode, no infs

39 L RPost Ant L R Inferences recalled versus Episode recalled, inf not recalled L RRR p<.005, positive only Bilateral pMTG, stronger in RHRH aSTS, bilat IFG

40 So what? Knowing where processing occurs informs and constrains what and how it occurs

41 OUTLINE: Drawing inferences from stories -- bilateral comprehension Three bilateral component semantic processes (to start) Insight -- bilateral, parallel processing during problem solving Bilateral semantic processing: Inferences in language, insight in problem solving

42 Bilateral Activation, Integration, and Selection model of semantic processing Semantic activation - Wernickes area –Bottom-up lexical-semantic activation: index of semantic representations (pMTG) Semantic integration - anterior Sup. Temp. Gyrus –Compute semantic overlap - detect or generate (aSTG) Semantic selection - Inf. Frontal Gyrus –Select among competing activated concepts (IFG)

43 Why does the RH code more coarsely? Asymmetries in neural microcircuitry

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45 Given topographic mapping of brain, broader input/output fields => coarser semantic coding foot CUT TOES RULER Right HemisphereLeft Hemisphere Small but strongly activated; Focused on dominant or contextually relevant concepts Large but weakly activated; Diffuse, including secondary and less relevant concepts

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47 foot pain glass pain foot RH coarse semantic coding: Increased likelihood of semantic overlap for distant semantic relations

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49 Why a separate area for semantic integration? Could form associations in activation area BUT Higher level relations, correlated co-occurrence, indirect Ability to extract, attend to, & manipulate relations –Analogous to individual areas within vision (e.g., motion)

50 Why anterior STS/STG for semantic integration? Again, neural architecture

51 L RPost Ant L R Patchy organization and multisensory integration (Beauchamp 2004)

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53 Why anterior STS/STG for semantic integration? Again, neural architecture More anterior = longer intrinsic conxns, better to integrate across patches RH = longer than LH

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55 Important clarifications Not an inference area –Semantic integration - participates in many functions –Not specific to categories of inferences - varies with demand Tight comparison not reveal whole network –Just areas that differ when storied imply versus explicitly state events RH and LH cooperate

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58 OUTLINE: Drawing inferences from stories -- bilateral comprehension Three bilateral component semantic processes (to start) Insight -- bilateral, parallel processing in problem solving Bilateral semantic processing: Inferences in language, insight in problem solving

59 Most problems solved with mix of analytic and insight processing Distinct computations, distributed across hemispheres, allows two approaches to proceed simultaneously (partially interactive) Hemispheric components, task shielding/switching Brain bases of insight during problem solving: Aha! and antecedents

60 Archimedes and the crown Kings crown - gold, or silver Archimedes knew gold and silver differed in density Archimedes knew weight, but couldnt geometrically measure to obtain volume (and compute density)

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62 Archimedes and the crown Why has story persisted so long?

63 Archimedes and the crown Why has story persisted so long? Resonates with our own experiences of solving insight problems solving problems with insight

64 Archimedes and the crown Solvers reach impasse (dead-end) - couldnt measure Must reinterpret some aspect of problem – –Volume by water displacement Unconscious processing important – –If not thinking of crown, how recognize importance of water? Solution accompanied by Eureka!

65 Insight component processes? Insight solutions associated with Switching to new strategy or associations (restructuring) Semantic integration -- solvers see connections that previously eluded them – –Right hemisphere?

66 Solving problems with insight Characteristics of both insight problems and solving processes similar to characteristics of discourse and comprehension processes for which the Right Hemisphere (RH) seems to make contributions Drawing inferences, understanding the gist Getting jokes, metaphors, connotations 2ndary word meanings

67 Solving problems with insight Solvers reach impasse (dead-end) Must reinterpret some aspect of problem Unconscious processing important Solution accompanied by Aha!

68 Short insight problems: RATCompound Remote Associate Problems Bowden & Jung Beeman, 1998 Remote Associates Test: The RAT (Mednick, 1962) child scan lame same strike tennis

69 RATCompound Remote Associate Problems Bowden & Jung Beeman, 1998 child scan lame same strike tennis

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71 Aha! experience Solution appears sudden and obvious As soon as you think of solution, you just know it works for all three words – –Comes as a whole, not part by part (vs strategic, step-by-step testing, etc)

72 Event-related fMRI design Insight solutions versus noninsight solutions Very tight comparison – –Not reveal whole network of problem solving – –Highlights just components that are uniquely engaged (or at least emphasized) for insight solutions

73 L RPost Ant L R Insight effect in RH anterior Superior Temporal Gyrus: FMRI signal for insight > noninsight solutions. L coronal R axial sagittal p 500 mm 3

74 Percent signal change Percent Signal change Time (sec) RH aSTG: Singal change across the active region Signal change for insight Insight effect and noninsight solutions(Ins - non)

75 Best cluster within each hemisphere!!

76 Parallel study with 128 channel EEG Temporal specificity Processing specificity - frequencies

77 Gamma band insight effects

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81 Insight solving conclusions Insight solutions associated with increased activity in RH aSTG Binding and conscious accessibility (gamma) over RH aSTG Preceded by visual gating (alpha) - RH temp/ occipital areas

82 Insight solving conclusions Insight solutions associated with increased activity in RH aSTG Binding and conscious accessibility (gamma) over RH aSTG – –- Lexical or semantic integration Preceded by visual gating (alpha) - RH temp/ occipital areas – –- Sensory gating indicates cognitive control?

83 Replication plus… more areas New data set: improved N, scanner, protocol RH aSTG (distant semantic integration) Anterior Cingulate (monitoring response competition, switching) Posterior Cingulate - same? Hippocampus/parahippocampal gyri - memory, reorgnzn?

84 L RPost Ant L R Insight effect in RH Superior Temporal Gyrus: FMRI signal for insight > noninsight solutions. L coronal R axial sagittal p 1000 mm 3 ant and post STG

85 NONinsight effect in LH Inf. Frontal Gyrus: FMRI signal for NONinsight > insight solutions. sagittal p 1000 mm 3 LH IFG - dominant semantic retrieval or selection - turns on at problem onset - off at solution, espy Insight RH IFG - unusual retrieval / selection - off at problem onset - on at solution (I>NI, ns)

86 General vs specific mechanisms - Visual Aha!

87 L RPost Ant L R Visual Aha! effect in RH anterior Mid Temporal Gyrus: FMRI signal for insight > noninsight recognition L coronal R axial sagittal p 500 mm 3

88 L RPost Ant L R Visual Aha! effect in RH anterior Mid Temporal Gyrus: FMRI signal for insight > noninsight recognition L coronal R axial sagittal p 500 mm 3

89 L RPost Ant L R Visual Aha! effect in RH Angular Gyrus: FMRI signal for insight > noninsight recognition L coronal R axial sagittal p 500 mm 3 Also: RH Sup Frontal Gyrus

90 L RPost Ant L R Visual Aha! effect in Bilateral M. Occipital Gyri: FMRI signal for NONinsight > insight recognition L coronal R axial sagittal p 500 mm 3

91 Visual Aha! conclusions NOT just for verbal problems Similarities - shared mechanisms (not insight, but…) – –Insight: top-down, cognitive control, integration – –RH -- unconscious, weak but mutually constraining, integration – –Recognition comes as a whole, not part by part – –Noninsight: bottom-up Some differences - Angular Gyrus somewhat surprising

92 General vs specific mechanisms - Visual Aha!

93 Insight solving conclusions Insight solutions associated with increased activity in RH aSTG Binding and conscious accessibility (gamma) over RH aSTG Preceded by visual gating (alpha) - RH temp/ occipital areas

94 Insight solving conclusions Insight solutions associated with increased activity in RH aSTG Binding and conscious accessibility (gamma) over RH aSTG – –- Lexical or semantic integration Preceded by visual gating (alpha) - RH temp/ occipital areas – –- Sensory gating indicates cognitive control?

95 Insight solving conclusions Insight solutions associated with Semantic integration -- solvers see connections that previously eluded them When the light goes on…

96 Bilateral Activation, Integration, and Selection model of semantic processing Semantic activation - Wernickes area –Bottom-up lexical-semantic activation: index of semantic representations (pMTG) Semantic integration - anterior Sup. Temp. Gyrus –Compute semantic overlap - detect or generate (aSTG) Semantic selection - Inf. Frontal Gyrus –Select among competing activated concepts (IFG)

97 Insight preparation Do different mental states influence how you solve problems? Brain activity during a rest period (fMRI) or at a Ready? prompt (EEG), prior to getting a problem Problems solved with insight versus without insight

98 Preparation for Insight Is there a general form of preparation for insight that begins before a problem is presented? We examined neural activity during the 2 sec immediately before each problem was presented. Compared neural activity preceding problems solved with insight to activity preceding problems solved without insight.

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102 Conclusions Two forms of preparation. – –Noninsight: Increased visual attention to displayed problem. – –Insight: Mobilization and control of cognitive resources; activation of temporal lobe semantic regions; suppression of irrelevant thoughts.

103 Summary Insight is different from ordinary problem solving. Insight involves a sudden, discrete, awareness of the solution to a problem. Insight involves different neural structures and mechanisms. Insight is the result of a special form of preparation involving cognitive regulation by medial frontal region.

104 Is insight really sudden? Part II: Antecedents of insight Positive mood facilitates insight and creative problem solving (Isen et al.)

105 Insight and mood Positive mood associated with increased creativity – –Better access to more distant associations – –Increased cognitive flexibility Anxiety associated with decreased creativity – –narrower focus of attention

106 Positive mood and insight Mood – –Positive mood enhances (anxiety impedes): » »Total solution rate » »% solved with insight » »Insight-like preparatory activity in ACC

107 Positive mood modulates prep activity in ACC Insight >Non Prep activity Pos Aff>Neg in prep activ Convergence

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109 General vs specific mechanisms - Visual Aha!

110 Thank you!


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