Date of Award
Master of Science (MSc)
Cognitive Science of Language
Event-related potentials (ERPs) have been used extensively in the scientific research of cognitive processing such as language comprehension. Specific responses, such as the negativity called N400 (Kutas & Hillyard, 1980), have in the literature typically been associated with semantic violations in sentences. Another electrophysiological response, the positive P600 waveform, has mostly been associated with syntactic and morphological violations. However, recently, the P600 has been reported also in connection with semantic violations (Kuperberg et al, 2003; van Herten, 2004; Osterhout, 2004). The present research further explores the neurophysiological correlates of processing sentences with semantic and morpho-syntactic violations. It tests the functional interpretations of the P600 component, which has been proposed to reflect syntactic error detection, context updating, or syntactic reanalysis or repair. I contrasted semantic and syntactic possessive violations. The semantic violation conditions (i.e. The mother borrowed the car’s daughter for work yesterday), morphosyntactic violations (i.e. The mother borrowed the daughter car for work yesterday) and double violation sentences (i.e. The mother borrowed the car daughter for work yesterday) were derived from the control condition, (i.e. The mother borrowed the daughter’s car for work yesterday). I explored whether the P600 component may index more general processes than ones related to syntactic error detection. An N400 was seen to our semantic manipulation, i.e. The mother borrowed the car’s daughter for work yesterday. However, none of the conditions produced a P600.
Thavendran, Elojika, "N400 But No P600 With Semantic Anomalies" (2012). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7516.
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