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Can wrong prosodic information be mistaken by the brain?

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Hruska,  Claudia
MPI of Cognitive Neuroscience (Leipzig, -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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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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Citation

Hruska, C., Alter, K., Steinhauer, K., & Steube, A. (2000). Can wrong prosodic information be mistaken by the brain? Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, (Suppl. S), 122.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-A31B-C
Abstract
The present auditory study aims at identifying ERP correlates for the processing of both sentence accents as such and their compatibility relative to a context question (information structure). The employed German sentence material is based on that introduced by Steinhauer, Alter and Friederici (1999) but varies the positions of accents (as indicated by capitals). Moreover, all sentences were preceded by context questions establishing a narrow focus on one sentence constituent such that only the corresponding accentuation pattern provided an appropriate answer: question: WHO promises to help Anna and to clean the office? compatible answer: (S1) PETER promises to help Anna and to clean the office. incompatible answer: (S2) Peter promises to help ANNA and to clean the office. Note that incompatible answers violate the required information structure in two ways: (1) they do not provide the required accent on the element in focus and (2) they contain an inappropriate accent. 22 undergraduate students participated in this experiment and judged the prosodic compatibility of questions and answers. Preliminary ERP data suggest that in compatible answers, lexical elements carrying the respective accent elicit a centro-parietal positivity. The ERP patterns for incompatible answers appears to be more complex. Depending on both the type of violation and the position in the sentence we observed either a negative slow wave or a biphasic sequence of components.