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  Endogenous oscillations time-constrain linguistic segmentation: Cycling the garden path

Henke, L., & Meyer, L. (2021). Endogenous oscillations time-constrain linguistic segmentation: Cycling the garden path. Cerebral Cortex, 31(9), 4289-4299. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhab086.

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Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Henke, Lena1, Author           
Meyer, Lars1, 2, Author           
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Research Group Language Cycles, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_3025666              
2Department of Phoniatrics and Pedaudiology, Münster University, Germany, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Delta-band oscillations; P600; Segmentation; Sentence comprehension
 Abstract: Speech is transient. To comprehend entire sentences, segments consisting of multiple words need to be memorized for at least a while. However, it has been noted previously that we struggle to memorize segments longer than approximately 2.7 s. We hypothesized that electrophysiological processing cycles within the delta band (<4 Hz) underlie this time constraint. Participants’ EEG was recorded while they listened to temporarily ambiguous sentences. By manipulating the speech rate, we aimed at biasing participants’ interpretation: At a slow rate, segmentation after 2.7 s would trigger a correct interpretation. In contrast, at a fast rate, segmentation after 2.7 s would trigger a wrong interpretation and thus an error later in the sentence. In line with the suggested time constraint, the phase of the delta-band oscillation at the critical point in the sentence mirrored segmentation on the level of single trials, as indicated by the amplitude of the P600 event-related brain potential (ERP) later in the sentence. The correlation between upstream delta-band phase and downstream P600 amplitude implies that segmentation took place when an underlying neural oscillator had reached a specific angle within its cycle, determining comprehension. We conclude that delta-band oscillations set an endogenous time constraint on segmentation.

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 Dates: 2021-05-052021-09
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhab086
PMID: 33949654
PMC: PMC8328215
 Degree: -

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Title: Cerebral Cortex
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: New York, NY : Oxford University Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 31 (9) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 4289 - 4299 Identifier: ISSN: 1047-3211
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925592440