Encephalography can give a very accurate temporal resolution, as in the example below from the work of Dr Duncan Milne. (By contrast, fMRI gives quite good spatial resolution of where the changes in activation take place.)
The following words are flashed one at a time unto a screen whilst the electrical activity of the subject’s brain is recorded via a series of captors which are placed on the head of the participants.
In Dr Milne’s study, the sentence was:
It was her first day at school she drank a cold glass of nails
When the brain encounters this strange difference in meaning from what could normally be expected there is a strong spike of activation in the signal, showing that the brain is working extra hard on trying to understand the sentence.
Duncan Milne, presentation to the World Dyslexia Forum, UNESCO, Paris, February 2010
Dr Milne’s book Teaching the brain to read is available in the ‘Reading room’ – ‘Books and articles’.