Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Pulvermüller: Brain's language

Word versus task representation in neural networks

Thomas Elbert a1, Christian Dobell a1, Alessandro Angrilli a1a2, Luciano Stegagno a2 and Brigitte Rockstroh a1
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany
a2 Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, 35100 Padua, Italy


The Hebbian view of word representation is challenged by findings of task (level of processing)-dependent, event-related potential patterns that do not support the notion of a fixed set of neurons representing a given word. With cross-language phonological reliability encoding more asymmetrical left hemisphere activity is evoked than with word comprehension. This suggests a dynamical view of the brain as a self-organizing, connectivity-adjusting system.