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Predictability speeds up the re-analysis process:An ERP investigation of gender agreement and cloze probability

By Hanneke Loerts, Laurie A. Stowe and Monika S. Schmid


<p>To investigate the timing relationship between lexical access and later processes, the present study compared event-related potentials (ERPs) in response to spoken Dutch sentences that were either correct or contained gender agreement violations on the article or adjective preceding the noun. The target noun was either unpredictable from the preceding sentence information (low doze) or was preceded by a highly constraining context (high doze) to investigate whether contextual constraints influence morphological processing of grammatical gender in real-time. In line with previous findings, gender violations elicited a clear P600 indicating processes of repair or re-analysis evoked by the gender mismatch. Low doze items, independent of the gender mismatch, elicited an increased N400 reflecting lexical access and semantic integration difficulty. Interestingly, an interaction between gender mismatch and doze probability occurred in the early portion of the P600 time window, with the P600 starting significantly later in the low doze conditions as compared to the high doze conditions, although they had the same amplitude in the later part of the window. These results indicate that semantic expectancy facilitates the late processes sensitive to syntactic violations, suggesting an interplay between semantics and syntax in later stages of processing and supporting interactive accounts of language comprehension. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.</p>

Topics: Grammatical gender, Cloze probability; Event-related potentials (ERPs); Auditory language processing; N400; P600; BRAIN POTENTIALS; GRAMMATICAL GENDER; VIOLATIONS; WORDS; COMPREHENSION; INFORMATION; INTEGRATION; EXPECTANCY; SEMANTICS; DISCOURSE
Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2013.03.003
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