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  1. Objectively differentiating patient mental states based on electrical activity, as opposed to overt behavior, is a fundamental neuroscience problem with medical applications, such as identifying patients in locked-in state vs. coma. Electroencephalography (EEG), which detects millisecond-level changes in brain activity across a range of frequencies, allows for assessment of external stimulus processing by the brain in a non-invasive manner. We applied machine learning methods to 26-channel EEG data of 24 fluent Deaf signers watching videos of sign language sentences (comprehension condition), and the same videos reversed in time (non-comprehension condition), to objectively separate vision-based high-level cognition states. While spectrotemporal parameters of the stimuli were identical in comprehension vs. non-comprehension conditions, the neural responses of participants varied based on their ability to linguistically decode visual data. We aimed to determine which subset of parameters (specific scalp regions or frequency ranges) would be necessary and sufficient for high classification accuracy of comprehension state. Optical flow, characterizing distribution of velocities of objects in an image, was calculated for each pixel of stimulus videos using MATLAB Vision toolbox. Coherence between optical flow in the stimulus and EEG neural response (per video, per participant) was then computed using canonical component analysis with NoiseTools toolbox. Peakmore »correlations were extracted for each frequency for each electrode, participant, and video. A set of standard ML algorithms were applied to the entire dataset (26 channels, frequencies from .2 Hz to 12.4 Hz, binned in 1 Hz increments), with consistent out-of-sample 100% accuracy for frequencies in .2-1 Hz range for all regions, and above 80% accuracy for frequencies < 4 Hz. Sparse Optimal Scoring (SOS) was then applied to the EEG data to reduce the dimensionality of the features and improve model interpretability. SOS with elastic-net penalty resulted in out-of-sample classification accuracy of 98.89%. The sparsity pattern in the model indicated that frequencies between 0.2–4 Hz were primarily used in the classification, suggesting that underlying data may be group sparse. Further, SOS with group lasso penalty was applied to regional subsets of electrodes (anterior, posterior, left, right). All trials achieved greater than 97% out-of-sample classification accuracy. The sparsity patterns from the trials using 1 Hz bins over individual regions consistently indicated frequencies between 0.2–1 Hz were primarily used in the classification, with anterior and left regions performing the best with 98.89% and 99.17% classification accuracy, respectively. While the sparsity pattern may not be the unique optimal model for a given trial, the high classification accuracy indicates that these models have accurately identified common neural responses to visual linguistic stimuli. Cortical tracking of spectro-temporal change in the visual signal of sign language appears to rely on lower frequencies proportional to the N400/P600 time-domain evoked response potentials, indicating that visual language comprehension is grounded in predictive processing mechanisms.« less