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Word category and verb-argument structure information in the dynamics of parsing

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

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Hahne,  Anja
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Friederici,  Angela D.
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Frisch, S., Hahne, A., & Friederici, A. D. (2004). Word category and verb-argument structure information in the dynamics of parsing. Cognition, 91(3), 191-219. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2003.09.009.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-EC31-A
Abstract
One of the core issues in psycholinguistic research concerns the relationship between word category information and verb–argument structure (e.g. transitivity) information of verbs in the process of sentence parsing. In two experiments (visual versus auditory presentation) using event-related brain potentials (ERPs), we addressed this question by presenting sentences in which the critical word simultaneously realized both a word category and a transitivity violation. ERPs for sentences with both types of violation clustered with the patterns for sentences with a word category violation only, but were different from the patterns elicited by argument structure violations in isolation, since only the latter elicited an N400 ERP component. The finding that an argument structure violation evoked an N400 only if the phrase structure of the respective sentence was correct suggests that a successful integration of the word category information of a verb functionally precedes the application of its argument structure information.