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Beyond syntax: Language-related positivities reflect the revision of hierarchies

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Bornkessel,  Ina
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

Bornkessel, I., Schlesewsky, M., & Friederici, A. D. (2002). Beyond syntax: Language-related positivities reflect the revision of hierarchies. NeuroReport, 13(3), 361-364.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-A0E6-B
Abstract
On the basis of an experiment using event-related brain potentials (EPRs), we argue that a characterisation of language-related positivities as necessarily syntax-related is too restrictive. Our data show that, in verb-final German clauses, the processing of a verb which disconfirms the expectations with regard to the hierarchical thematic structure of a sentence (who is doing what to whom) gives rise to an early (200-600 ms) parietal positivity. Thus, positive ERP components elicited during language processing appear to be related to operations (most often revisions) applying to hierarchically structured linguistic information in general, rather than to syntactic structure in particular.