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ERP evidence on the interaction of metrical and syntactic processing: The case of the P600

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Kotz,  Sonja A.
Minerva Research Group Neurocognition of Rhythm in Communication, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schmidt-Kassow,  Maren
Minerva Research Group Neurocognition of Rhythm in Communication, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kotz, S. A., & Schmidt-Kassow, M. (2007). ERP evidence on the interaction of metrical and syntactic processing: The case of the P600. Poster presented at 2007 Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS), New York, NY, USA.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-B23D-9
Abstract
Based on previous observations that metrical regularities of a given language influence auditory language processing in general and syntactic processing in particular (Schmidt-Kassow & Kotz, 2006), we further investigated the interaction of metrical and syntactic processing. Rather than listening to metrical errors, participants had to detect metrically deviant, but possible syllable stress patterns in a metrically predictable sentence context. In addition, we tested syntactically deviant, metrically and syntactically deviant and metrically and syntactically correct sentences. All sentences included two syllabic words (first syllable stress). Metrically deviant sentences included a tri-syllabic verb with second syllable stress. Syntactic deviation was induced by a morphological inflectional error in the critical verb (syllable stress correct) and a double violation contained a metrically and syntactically deviant verb. Results from a metric judgment task show a P600 elicited by all three deviation types. In a syntactic judgment task only the syntactic and double deviation elicited a P600. Comparable to our previous results, metric deviations elicit a P600, especially when attention is directed towards the deviation. These data underline the importance of metrical information during auditory language processing and suggest that the P600 is not syntax specific. The data will be discussed with regard to a language processing model (Friederici & Kotz, 2003) and extended by suggestions from the Dynamic Attention Theory of Large and Jones (1999).