Found in Translation: Universal Brain Activity When People Find Meaning in Stories, Regardless of LanguageAbstract Decoding the neural representation of story meanings across languages
Drawing from a common lexicon of semantic units, humans fashion
narratives whose meaning transcends that of their individual utterances.
However, while brain regions that represent lower-level semantic units,
such as words and sentences, have been identified, questions remain
about the neural representation of narrative comprehension, which
involves inferring cumulative meaning.
To address these questions, we
exposed English, Mandarin, and Farsi native speakers to native language
translations of the same stories during fMRI scanning. Using a new
technique in natural language processing, we calculated the distributed
representations of these stories (capturing the meaning of the stories
in high-dimensional semantic space), and demonstrate that using these
representations we can identify the spec…