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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.


Grand average event-related potentials from Pz to coherent carrier words with final embeddings (solid line), and to coherent control words without embeddings (dashed line), after baseline correction in the 200-ms prestimulus interval, time-locked to the onset of the carrier/control words (upper panel) and time-locked to the onset of the second syllable of the carrier/control words, which corresponds to the onset of the final embeddings (lower panel). The left panel shows the results for the carrier words with the less salient final embeddings (word probability equal to zero), the right panel shows the results for the carrier words with the more salient final embeddings (word probability larger than zero).
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Figure 5: Grand average event-related potentials from Pz to coherent carrier words with final embeddings (solid line), and to coherent control words without embeddings (dashed line), after baseline correction in the 200-ms prestimulus interval, time-locked to the onset of the carrier/control words (upper panel) and time-locked to the onset of the second syllable of the carrier/control words, which corresponds to the onset of the final embeddings (lower panel). The left panel shows the results for the carrier words with the less salient final embeddings (word probability equal to zero), the right panel shows the results for the carrier words with the more salient final embeddings (word probability larger than zero).

Mentions: In line with our prediction, the results in Figure 5 confirm that, the embedding-dependent N400 effect is largest for the most salient embeddings. Thus, the final embeddings with the highest probability to be recognized in their local carrier word context – as quantified by Shortlist B – are showing the strongest involvement in higher-level sense-making. This analysis strengthens our claim that the N400 effects we find are indeed related to the semantic involvement of the final embeddings. Along the way, it also illustrates how a Bayesian model of continuous speech recognition can be used to link probabilities of lexical hypotheses to electrophysiological measures.


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)

Grand average event-related potentials from Pz to coherent carrier words with final embeddings (solid line), and to coherent control words without embeddings (dashed line), after baseline correction in the 200-ms prestimulus interval, time-locked to the onset of the carrier/control words (upper panel) and time-locked to the onset of the second syllable of the carrier/control words, which corresponds to the onset of the final embeddings (lower panel). The left panel shows the results for the carrier words with the less salient final embeddings (word probability equal to zero), the right panel shows the results for the carrier words with the more salient final embeddings (word probability larger than zero).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 5: Grand average event-related potentials from Pz to coherent carrier words with final embeddings (solid line), and to coherent control words without embeddings (dashed line), after baseline correction in the 200-ms prestimulus interval, time-locked to the onset of the carrier/control words (upper panel) and time-locked to the onset of the second syllable of the carrier/control words, which corresponds to the onset of the final embeddings (lower panel). The left panel shows the results for the carrier words with the less salient final embeddings (word probability equal to zero), the right panel shows the results for the carrier words with the more salient final embeddings (word probability larger than zero).
Mentions: In line with our prediction, the results in Figure 5 confirm that, the embedding-dependent N400 effect is largest for the most salient embeddings. Thus, the final embeddings with the highest probability to be recognized in their local carrier word context – as quantified by Shortlist B – are showing the strongest involvement in higher-level sense-making. This analysis strengthens our claim that the N400 effects we find are indeed related to the semantic involvement of the final embeddings. Along the way, it also illustrates how a Bayesian model of continuous speech recognition can be used to link probabilities of lexical hypotheses to electrophysiological measures.

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.