ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (7): 1130-1141.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.01130

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The Neural Mechanism and Influential Factors of Semantic Unification in Discourse Comprehension

ZHANG Xiuping1,2; YANG Xiaohong1; YANG Yufang1   

  1. (1 Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China) (2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)
  • Received:2014-07-31 Online:2015-07-15 Published:2015-07-15
  • Contact: YANG Yufang, E-mail:


Semantic unification is a key process of discourse comprehension, which refers to the process in which readers integrate the meaning of a new word into its prior context. Most theories of discourse comprehension agree on the significance of semantic unification in discourse comprehension. So far, numerous ERP studies have shown that readers immediately relate an upcoming word to its prior discourse context. Studies using fMRI and the analysis of oscillation have revealed specific brain areas and neural networks that are related to semantic unification in discourse comprehension. Besides, there are many factors that affect semantic unification in discourse comprehension, which can be divided into three categories: inner-discourse factors, extra-language factors, and individual differences.

Key words: discourse comprehension, semantic unification, neural mechanism, inner-discourse factors, extra-language factors, individual differences