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  The neural correlates of morphological complexity processing: Detecting structure in pseudowords

Schuster, S., Scharinger, M., Brooks, C., Lahiri, A., & Hartwigsen, G. (2018). The neural correlates of morphological complexity processing: Detecting structure in pseudowords. Human Brain Mapping, 39(6), 2317-2328. doi:10.1002/hbm.23975.

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Schuster, Swetlana1, Author
Scharinger, Mathias2, Author
Brooks, Colin1, Author
Lahiri, Aditi1, Author
Hartwigsen, Gesa3, Author              
1Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetic, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              
2Department of Germanic Linguistics, Philipps University Marburg, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634551              


Free keywords: Word recognition; Lexicality; Parietal cortex; Inferior frontal gyrus; Nonwords
 Abstract: Morphological complexity is a highly debated issue in visual word recognition. Previous neuroimaging studies have shown that speakers are sensitive to degrees of morphological complexity. Two-step derived complex words (bridging through bridgeN > bridgeV > bridging) led to more enhanced activation in the left inferior frontal gyrus than their 1-step derived counterparts (running through runV > running). However, it remains unclear whether sensitivity to degrees of morphological complexity extends to pseudowords. If this were the case, it would indicate that abstract knowledge of morphological structure is independent of lexicality. We addressed this question by investigating the processing of two sets of pseudowords in German. Both sets contained morphologically viable two-step derived pseudowords differing in the number of derivational steps required to access an existing lexical representation and therefore the degree of structural analysis expected during processing. Using a 2 × 2 factorial design, we found lexicality effects to be distinct from processing signatures relating to structural analysis in pseudowords. Semantically-driven processes such as lexical search showed a more frontal distribution while combinatorial processes related to structural analysis engaged more parietal parts of the network. Specifically, more complex pseudowords showed increased activation in parietal regions (right superior parietal lobe and left precuneus) relative to pseudowords that required less structural analysis to arrive at an existing lexical representation. As the two sets were matched on cohort size and surface form, these results highlight the role of internal levels of morphological structure even in forms that do not possess a lexical representation.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2017-12-142017-10-102018-01-082018-03-022018-06
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23975
PMID: 29498763
Other: Epub 2018
 Degree: -



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Project information

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Project name : -
Grant ID : ES/J500112/1
Funding program : ESRC Doctoral Training Grant
Funding organization : Economic and Social Research Council
Project name : Resolving Morpho-Phonological Alternation: Historical, Neurolinguistic, and Computational Approaches / MOR-PHON
Grant ID : 695481
Funding program : Horizon 2020
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)

Source 1

Title: Human Brain Mapping
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: New York : Wiley-Liss
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 39 (6) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 2317 - 2328 Identifier: ISSN: 1065-9471
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925601686