Grammatical agreement processing in reading: ERP findings and future directions

In the domain of written sentence comprehension, the computation of agreement dependencies is generally considered as a form-driven processing routine whose domain is syntactic in nature. In the present review we discuss the main findings emerging in the Event-Related Potential (ERP) literature on sentence comprehension, focusing on the different dimensions of agreement patterns (features, values, constituents involved and language): Agreement mismatches usually evoke a biphasic electrophysiological pattern (Left Anterior Negativity – LAN, 300–450msec and P600 after 500msec). This ERP pattern is assumed to reflect rule-based computations sensitive to formal (inflectional) covariations of related words (trigger–target). Here we claim that agreement processing is sensitive to both the type of feature involved and the constituents that express the agreement dependency. More specifically, LAN could reflect violation of expectancy (elicited by the trigger) for the target functional morphology; later, trigger and target are structurally integrated at the sentence level (earlyP600). However, morphosyntactic information could trigger the activation of higher-level representations that are not strictly syntactic in nature. The recruitment of this additional non-syntactic information (mirrored by N400-like effects) indicates that rule-based computations of agreement dependencies are not blind to non-syntactic information but are often recruited to establish sentence-level relations.

from Cortex


About Callier Library

Housed at the internationally renowned Callier Center for Communication Disorders, Callier Library a branch facility of the McDermott Library at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Posted on July 5, 2011, in Research and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: