M/EEG analysis of naturalistic stories: a review from speech to language processing
Alday, P. M.
M/EEG analysis of naturalistic stories: a review from speech to language processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34
(4), 457-473. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1546882.
M/EEG research using naturally spoken stories as stimuli has focused largely on speech and not
language processing. The temporal resolution of M/EEG is a two-edged sword, allowing for the
study of the fine acoustic structure of speech, yet easily overwhelmed by the temporal noise of
variation in constituent length. Recent theories on the neural encoding of linguistic structure
require the temporal resolution of M/EEG, yet suffer from confounds when studied on traditional,
heavily controlled stimuli. Recent methodological advances allow for synthesising naturalistic
designs and traditional, controlled designs into effective M/EEG research on naturalistic
language. In this review, we highlight common threads throughout the at-times distinct research
traditions of speech and language processing. We conclude by examining the tradeoffs and
successes of three M/EEG studies on fully naturalistic language paradigms and the future
directions they suggest.