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Journal Article

Diagnosis and repair of negative polarity constructions in the light of symbolic resonance analysis


Frisch,  Stefan
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Drenhaus, H., beim Graben, P., Saddy, P., & Frisch, S. (2006). Diagnosis and repair of negative polarity constructions in the light of symbolic resonance analysis. Brain and Language, 96(3), 255-268. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2005.05.001.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-A9C0-4
In a post hoc analysis, we investigate differences in event-related potentials of two studies (Drenhaus et al., 2004, Drenhaus et al., to appear, Saddy et al., 2004a and Saddy et al., 2004b) by using the symbolic resonance analysis (Beim Graben & Kurths, 2003). The studies under discussion, examined the failure to license a negative polarity item (NPI) in German: Saddy et al. (2004a) reported an N400 component when the NPI was not accurately licensed by negation; Drenhaus et al., 2004 and Drenhaus et al., to appear considered additionally the influence of constituency of the licensor in NPI constructions. A biphasic N400-P600 response was found for the two induced violations (the lack of licensor and the inaccessibility of negation in a relative clause). The symbolic resonance analysis (SRA) revealed an effect in the P600 time window for the data in Saddy et al., which was not found by using the averaging technique. The SRA of the ERPs in Drenhaus et al., showed that the P600 components are distinguishable concerning the amplitude and latency. It was smaller and earlier in the condition where the licensor is inaccessible, compared to the condition without negation in the string. Our findings suggest that the failure in licensing NPIs is not exclusively related to semantic integration costs (N400). The elicited P600 components reflect differences in syntactic processing. Our results confirm and replicate the effects of the traditional voltage average analysis and show that the SRA is a useful tool to reveal and pull apart ERP differences which are not evident using the traditional voltage average analysis.