Document Detail

Morphophonological influences on the comprehension of subject-verb agreement: an ERP study.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18634765     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Event-related potentials were used to study whether factors known to influence subject-verb number agreement in production exert analogous effects on sentence comprehension. Participants read Dutch sentences containing subject-verb number agreement errors while their brainwaves were measured. The determiner of the singular head noun could be ambiguous or unambiguous in number and the modifier ("local") noun could be plural or singular. Both ambiguity and number match affect error rates in production. We expected evoked potentials in response to the verb to be modulated by number ambiguity; larger effects were expected when the sentences started with an unambiguous determiner. When the local noun was singular, we observed a more negative wave elicited by the incorrect verbs compared to the correct verbs in the 350-400 ms time-window. This effect was largest when the head noun phrase contained no number ambiguity. When the local noun was plural the waves were more positive for incorrect verbs than for correct verbs in the 600-650 ms time-window. Again this effect was largest when the head noun phrase contained no number ambiguity. Most importantly, the results show that agreement computation in comprehension is influenced by the same factors as in production. We further suggest that in the sentences with a singular local noun there is a shallow analysis of the sentence, but the sentences with a plural local noun require a deeper syntactic analysis.
Els Severens; Bernadette M Jansma; Robert J Hartsuiker
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Clinical Trial; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2008-07-02
Journal Detail:
Title:  Brain research     Volume:  1228     ISSN:  0006-8993     ISO Abbreviation:  Brain Res.     Publication Date:  2008 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-08-19     Completed Date:  2008-11-03     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0045503     Medline TA:  Brain Res     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  135-44     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, H. Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium.
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MeSH Terms
Attention / physiology
Comprehension / physiology
Evoked Potentials / physiology*
Judgment / physiology
Reaction Time / physiology
Verbal Behavior / physiology*

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