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Electrophysiological evidence for modulation of lexical processing after repetitive exposure to foreign phonotactic rules

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Rossi,  Sonja
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Vignotto,  Micol
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Obrig,  Hellmuth
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Rossi, S., Hartmüller, T., Vignotto, M., & Obrig, H. (2013). Electrophysiological evidence for modulation of lexical processing after repetitive exposure to foreign phonotactic rules. Brain and Language, 127(3), 404-414. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2013.02.009.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-4FAA-A
Abstract
In two experiments we investigate how repeated exposure to native and non-native phonotactic regularities alters the N400, an event-related potential related to lexico-semantic access. Participants underwent a Passive Listening (Experiment 1) or a Categorization Training (Experiment 2) for monosyllabic pseudowords over 3 days. During Passive Listening participants solely listened to the stimuli while for Categorization Training they learned to assign items to two arbitrary categories by feedback. Notably, this task did not rely on phonotactic regularities. Before training, N400 was larger for legal compared to illegal items. Over the 3-day exposure Passive Listening yielded a significant decrease in N400-amplitude for illegal pseudowords, however, this effect was abolished and partially inverted by the Categorization Training. We suggest the decrease in N400-amplitude indicates more efficient discrimination between native and non-native pseudowords since only the former are potential lexical candidates. On the contrary, Categorization Training introduces a ‘protosemantic’ context overriding prelexical selection processes.