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Text type attribution modulates pre-stimulus alpha power in sentence reading

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Blohm,  Stefan
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Department of English and Linguistics, University of Mainz, Germany;

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Menninghaus,  Winfried
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Scharinger,  Mathias
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Phonetics Research Group, Department of German Linguistics & Marburg Center for Mind, Brain and Behavior, ;

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Citation

Blohm, S., Schlesewsky, M., Menninghaus, W., & Scharinger, M. (2021). Text type attribution modulates pre-stimulus alpha power in sentence reading. Brain and Language, 214: 104894. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2020.104894.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-B647-C
Abstract
Prior knowledge and context-specific expectations influence the perception of sensory events, e.g., speech, as well as complex higher-order cognitive operations like text reading. Here, we focused on pre-stimulus neural activity during sentence reading to examine text type-dependent attentional bias in anticipation of written stimuli, capitalizing on the functional relevance of brain oscillations in the alpha (8–12 Hz) frequency range. Two sex- and age-matched groups of participants (n = 24 each) read identical sentences on a screen at a fixed per-constituent presentation rate while their electroencephalogram was recorded; the groups were differentially instructed to read “sentences” (genre-neutral condition) or “verses from poems” (poetry condition). Relative alpha power (pre-cue vs. post-cue) in pre-stimulus time windows was greater in the poetry condition than in the genre-neutral condition. This finding constitutes initial evidence for genre-specific cognitive adjustments that precede processing proper, and potentially links current theories of discourse comprehension to current theories of brain function.