Human language offers a variety of ways to create meaning, one of which is referring to entities, objects, or events in the world. One such meaning maker is understanding to whom or to what a pronoun in a discourse refers to. To understand a pronoun, the brain must access matching entities or concepts that have been encoded in memory from previous linguistic context. Models of language processing propose that internally stored linguistic concepts, accessed via exogenous cues such as phonological input of a word, are represented as (a)synchronous activities across a population of neurons active at specific frequency bands. Converging evidence suggests that delta band activity (1–3 Hz) is involved in temporal and representational integration during sentence processing. Moreover, recent advances in the neurobiology of memory suggest that recollection engages neural dynamics similar to those which occurred during memory encoding. Integrating from these two research lines, we here tested the hypothesis that neural dynamic patterns, especially in delta frequency range, underlying referential meaning representation, would be reinstated during pronoun resolution. By leveraging neural decoding techniques (i.e., representation similarity analysis) on a magnetoencephalogram data set acquired during a naturalistic story-listening task, we provide evidence that delta-band activity underlies referential meaning representation. Our findings suggest that, during spoken language comprehension, endogenous linguistic representations such as referential concepts may be proactively retrieved and represented via activation of their underlying dynamic neural patterns.

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