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Conference Paper

Prosodic properties, perception, and brain activity

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Steinhauer,  Karsten
MPI for Psychological Research (Munich, -2003), The Prior Institutes, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Alter,  Kai
MPI of Cognitive Neuroscience (Leipzig, -2003), The Prior Institutes, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Friederici,  Angela D.
MPI of Cognitive Neuroscience (Leipzig, -2003), The Prior Institutes, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Steinhauer, K., Alter, K., & Friederici, A. D. (1999). Prosodic properties, perception, and brain activity. In Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (pp. 227-230). Berkeley: University of California.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-2B0E-F
Abstract
This paper investigates how differences in syntactic structure influence the speaker's prosodic realization of temporarily ambiguous utterances and whether the respective prosodic information guides the listener's sentence comprehension. Exhaustive acoustic analyses of the speech signals as well as behavioral and event-related brain potential (ERP) data of 56 listeners revealed the following results. 1. As predicted by certain theories of syntax-prosody mapping, syntactic differences led to early characteristic changes in the prosodic pattern. 2. Prosodic differences involved word duration, pause insertion, pitch contours, and the loudness function of the speech signals. 3. The disambiguating prosodic cues were immediately decoded by the listeners and prevented them from initial misanalyses typically observed during reading. 4. The processing of Intonational Phrase (IPh) boundaries was reflected by a specific brain response in the ERP. 5. In the presence of other prosodic cues, pause insertion was completely dispensable for the marking and perception of IPh boundaries.