Speech Rhythm Facilitates Syntactic Ambiguity Resolution: ERP Evidence

Roncaglia-Denissen, Maria Paula; Schmidt-Kassow, Maren; Kotz, Sonja A.
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
In the current event-related potential (ERP) study, we investigated how speech rhythm impacts speech segmentation and facilitates the resolution of syntactic ambiguities in auditory sentence processing. Participants listened to syntactically ambiguous German subject- and object-first sentences that were spoken with either regular or irregular speech rhythm. Rhythmicity was established by a constant metric pattern of three unstressed syllables between two stressed ones that created rhythmic groups of constant size. Accuracy rates in a comprehension task revealed that participants understood rhythmically regular sentences better than rhythmically irregular ones. Furthermore, the mean amplitude of the P600 component was reduced in response to object-first sentences only when embedded in rhythmically regular but not rhythmically irregular context. This P600 reduction indicates facilitated processing of sentence structure possibly due to a decrease in processing costs for the less-preferred structure (object-first). Our data suggest an early and continuous use of rhythm by the syntactic parser and support language processing models assuming an interactive and incremental use of linguistic information during language processing.


Related Articles

  • Eye-tracking and ERPs in multi-word expression research. Siyanova-Chanturia, Anna // Mental Lexicon;2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p245 

    In recent years, there has been growing interest in the mechanisms that underlie on-line processing (comprehension and production) of units above the word level, known as multiword expressions (MWEs). MWEs are a heterogeneous family of expressions that vary greatly in their linguistic properties...

  • The Weight of Cognitions in Panic: The Link between Misinterpretations and Panic Attacks. De Cort, Klara; Hermans, Dirk; Noortman, Daphne; Arends, Wiesje; Griez, Eric J. L.; Schruers, Koen R. J. // PLoS ONE;Aug2013, Vol. 8 Issue 8, p1 

    In cognitive theory it is hypothesized that panic attacks are provoked by catastrophic misinterpretations of bodily sensations. The aim of the present study was to investigate the ability of associated word pairs referring to catastrophic thinking (e.g. palpitations-heart attack) in producing...

  • Event-Related Potentials for Post-Error and Post-Conflict Slowing. Chang, Andrew; Chen, Chien-Chung; Li, Hsin-Hung; Li, Chiang-Shan R. // PLoS ONE;Jun2014, Vol. 9 Issue 6, p1 

    In a reaction time task, people typically slow down following an error or conflict, each called post-error slowing (PES) and post-conflict slowing (PCS). Despite many studies of the cognitive mechanisms, the neural responses of PES and PCS continue to be debated. In this study, we combined...

  • The N400 and LPC Effects Reflecting Controlled but Not Automatic Mechanisms of Sentence Processing. Daltrozzo, Jérôme; Wioland, Norma; Kotchoubey, Boris // Philosophy Study;Sep2011, Vol. 1 Issue 4, p275 

    This study focused on the automatic versus controlled nature of the underlying cognitive processes of ERPs (Event-Related Potentials) effects during speech perception. ERPs to the final word of sentences (half being semantically incongruent with the sentence and half congruent) were presented to...

  • Predictive validity of the N2 and P3 ERP components to executive functioning in children: a latent-variable analysis. Brydges, Christopher R.; Fox, Allison M.; Reid, Corinne L.; Anderson, Mike // Frontiers in Human Neuroscience;Feb2014, Vol. 8, p1 

    Executive functions (EFs) are commonly theorized to be related yet separable constructs in adults, and specific EFs, such as prepotent response inhibition and working memory, are thought to have clear and distinct neural underpinnings. However, recent evidence suggests that EFs are unitary in...

  • Spatial metaphor processing during temporal sequencing comprehension. Yang, Jie; Xue, Jin // Experimental Brain Research;Sep2011, Vol. 213 Issue 4, p475 

    People all over the world use spatial metaphors to represent temporal sequencing, but so far the online stages during the comprehension of temporal sequencing still lack evidence. To explore this issue, the current EEG study constructed vertical anomaly and horizontal anomaly by exchanging...

  • Distinct Modulation of Event-Related Potentials during Motor Preparation in Patients with Motor Conversion Disorder. Blakemore, Rebekah L.; Hyland, Brian I.; Hammond-Tooke, Graeme D.; Anson, J. Greg // PLoS ONE;Apr2013, Vol. 8 Issue 4, p1 

    Objective: Conversion paresis patients and healthy people feigning weakness both exhibit weak voluntary movement without detectable neuropathology. Uniquely, conversion patients lack a sense of conscious awareness of the origin of their impairment. We investigated whether conversion paresis...

  • Dynamics of Vocalization-Induced Modulation of Auditory Cortical Activity at Mid-utterance. Chen, Zhaocong; Jones, Jeffery A.; Liu, Peng; Li, Weifeng; Huang, Dongfeng; Liu, Hanjun // PLoS ONE;Mar2013, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p1 

    Background: Recent research has addressed the suppression of cortical sensory responses to altered auditory feedback that occurs at utterance onset regarding speech. However, there is reason to assume that the mechanisms underlying sensorimotor processing at mid-utterance are different than...

  • Emotional Body-Word Conflict Evokes Enhanced N450 and Slow Potential. Ma, Jianling; Liu, Chang; Zhong, Xin; Wang, Lu; Chen, Xu // PLoS ONE;May2014, Vol. 9 Issue 5, p1 

    Emotional conflict refers to the influence of task irrelevant affective stimuli on current task set. Previously used emotional face-word tasks have produced certain electrophysiological phenomena, such as an enhanced N450 and slow potential; however, it remains unknown whether these effects...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics