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Semantic Involvement of Initial and Final Lexical Embeddings during Sense-Making: The Advantage of Starting Late.

van Alphen PM, van Berkum JJ - Front Psychol (2012)

Bottom Line: Although carrier words with an initial embedding (day in daisy) did not elicit an embedding-related N400 effect relative to matched control words without embedding, carrier words with a final embedding (dean in sardine) did elicit such an effect.Together with prior work from our lab and the results of a Shortlist B simulation, our findings suggest that listeners do semantically interpret embedded words, albeit not under all conditions.We explain the latter by assuming that the sense-making system adjusts its hypothesis for how to interpret the external input at every new syllable, in line with recent ideas of active sampling in perception.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
During spoken language interpretation, listeners rapidly relate the meaning of each individual word to what has been said before. However, spoken words often contain spurious other words, like day in daisy, or dean in sardine. Do listeners also relate the meaning of such unintended, spurious words to the prior context? We used ERPs to look for transient meaning-based N400 effects in sentences that were completely plausible at the level of words intended by the speaker, but contained an embedded word whose meaning clashed with the context. Although carrier words with an initial embedding (day in daisy) did not elicit an embedding-related N400 effect relative to matched control words without embedding, carrier words with a final embedding (dean in sardine) did elicit such an effect. Together with prior work from our lab and the results of a Shortlist B simulation, our findings suggest that listeners do semantically interpret embedded words, albeit not under all conditions. We explain the latter by assuming that the sense-making system adjusts its hypothesis for how to interpret the external input at every new syllable, in line with recent ideas of active sampling in perception.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Topographies of the effect in the 300- to 500-ms window for the presence/absence of a final (incoherent) embedding (carrier word minus control word, time-locked onto the onset of the second syllable) and the standard N400 effect caused by a difference in cloze-probability for the complete word (control word minus high-cloze word, time-locked onto the onset of the words). Note that the range of the scales differ for the two effects.
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Figure 4: Topographies of the effect in the 300- to 500-ms window for the presence/absence of a final (incoherent) embedding (carrier word minus control word, time-locked onto the onset of the second syllable) and the standard N400 effect caused by a difference in cloze-probability for the complete word (control word minus high-cloze word, time-locked onto the onset of the words). Note that the range of the scales differ for the two effects.

Mentions: To verify that this embedding-dependent effect is indeed an N400 effect, reflecting the same neural generator(s) as the standard N400 effect that we observed for the (low-cloze) control words compared to their highly predictable (high-cloze) counterparts, we plotted the topographies for both differential effects in Figure 4. Although the size of the embedding-dependent ERP effect is smaller than the size of the cloze-probability effect, the scalp distributions of these effects are virtually identical, and typical for the N400. This supports our assumption that the embedding-dependent effect is indeed a modulation of the N400.


Semantic Involvement of Initial and Final Lexical Embeddings during Sense-Making: The Advantage of Starting Late.

van Alphen PM, van Berkum JJ - Front Psychol (2012)

Topographies of the effect in the 300- to 500-ms window for the presence/absence of a final (incoherent) embedding (carrier word minus control word, time-locked onto the onset of the second syllable) and the standard N400 effect caused by a difference in cloze-probability for the complete word (control word minus high-cloze word, time-locked onto the onset of the words). Note that the range of the scales differ for the two effects.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3375653&req=5

Figure 4: Topographies of the effect in the 300- to 500-ms window for the presence/absence of a final (incoherent) embedding (carrier word minus control word, time-locked onto the onset of the second syllable) and the standard N400 effect caused by a difference in cloze-probability for the complete word (control word minus high-cloze word, time-locked onto the onset of the words). Note that the range of the scales differ for the two effects.
Mentions: To verify that this embedding-dependent effect is indeed an N400 effect, reflecting the same neural generator(s) as the standard N400 effect that we observed for the (low-cloze) control words compared to their highly predictable (high-cloze) counterparts, we plotted the topographies for both differential effects in Figure 4. Although the size of the embedding-dependent ERP effect is smaller than the size of the cloze-probability effect, the scalp distributions of these effects are virtually identical, and typical for the N400. This supports our assumption that the embedding-dependent effect is indeed a modulation of the N400.

Bottom Line: Although carrier words with an initial embedding (day in daisy) did not elicit an embedding-related N400 effect relative to matched control words without embedding, carrier words with a final embedding (dean in sardine) did elicit such an effect.Together with prior work from our lab and the results of a Shortlist B simulation, our findings suggest that listeners do semantically interpret embedded words, albeit not under all conditions.We explain the latter by assuming that the sense-making system adjusts its hypothesis for how to interpret the external input at every new syllable, in line with recent ideas of active sampling in perception.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
During spoken language interpretation, listeners rapidly relate the meaning of each individual word to what has been said before. However, spoken words often contain spurious other words, like day in daisy, or dean in sardine. Do listeners also relate the meaning of such unintended, spurious words to the prior context? We used ERPs to look for transient meaning-based N400 effects in sentences that were completely plausible at the level of words intended by the speaker, but contained an embedded word whose meaning clashed with the context. Although carrier words with an initial embedding (day in daisy) did not elicit an embedding-related N400 effect relative to matched control words without embedding, carrier words with a final embedding (dean in sardine) did elicit such an effect. Together with prior work from our lab and the results of a Shortlist B simulation, our findings suggest that listeners do semantically interpret embedded words, albeit not under all conditions. We explain the latter by assuming that the sense-making system adjusts its hypothesis for how to interpret the external input at every new syllable, in line with recent ideas of active sampling in perception.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus