How the brain responds to any: An MEG study

Graciela Tesan*, Blake W. Johnson, Stephen Crain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The word any may appear in some sentences, but not in others. For example, any is permitted in sentences that contain the word nobody, as in Nobody ate any fruit. However, in a minimally different context any seems strikingly anomalous: Everybody ate any fruit. The aim of the present study was to investigate how the brain responds to the word any in such minimally different contexts - where it is permitted (licensed) and where it is not permitted (unlicensed). Brain responses were measured from adult readers using magnetoencephalography (MEG). The results showed significantly larger responses to permissible contexts in the left posterior temporal areas between 400-500ms and 590-660ms. These results clarify the anatomy and timing of brain processes that contribute to our judgment that a word such as any is or is not permitted in a given context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-72
Number of pages7
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


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