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Additive effects of repetition and predictability during comprehension: evidence from event-related potentials.

Chow WY, Lago S, Barrios S, Parker D, Morini G, Lau E - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Previous research has shown that neural responses to words during sentence comprehension are sensitive to both lexical repetition and a word's predictability in context.While previous research has often contrasted the effects of these variables (e.g. by looking at cases in which word repetition violates sentence-level constraints), little is known about how they work in tandem.Using event-related brain potentials (ERPs), we show that word repetition and predictability have qualitatively similar and additive effects on the N400 amplitude.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Linguistics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States of America; Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Donostia - San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain.

ABSTRACT
Previous research has shown that neural responses to words during sentence comprehension are sensitive to both lexical repetition and a word's predictability in context. While previous research has often contrasted the effects of these variables (e.g. by looking at cases in which word repetition violates sentence-level constraints), little is known about how they work in tandem. In the current study we examine how recent exposure to a word and its predictability in context combine to impact lexical semantic processing. We devise a novel paradigm that combines reading comprehension with a recognition memory task, allowing for an orthogonal manipulation of a word's predictability and its repetition status. Using event-related brain potentials (ERPs), we show that word repetition and predictability have qualitatively similar and additive effects on the N400 amplitude. We propose that prior exposure to a word and predictability impact lexical semantic processing in an additive and independent fashion.

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The three phases used in the experimental paradigm: familiarization (left), sentence comprehension (center) and memory recognition test (right).
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pone-0099199-g001: The three phases used in the experimental paradigm: familiarization (left), sentence comprehension (center) and memory recognition test (right).

Mentions: As illustrated in Figure 1, the paradigm consisted of a familiarization phase, a reading comprehension phase and a recognition test phase. In the familiarization phase participants were asked to study a set of words for a later recognition memory test. Since differences at initial memory encoding have been shown to affect the amplitude of the N400 during later recognition [51]–[52], we presented the words in isolation rather than in sentence contexts to minimize systematic encoding differences. In between the familiarization and the recognition memory test phase, participants read a list of sentences for comprehension while their electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded. We manipulated whether the target words had been studied in the familiarization phase or not (old vs. new) as well as their predictability in the sentence context (expected vs. unexpected), which was operationalized as their cloze probability. In order to avoid floor effects on the N400 amplitude (cfr. [26]), we used expected target words of intermediate cloze probability (7.9–39.5%). Representative sample items are shown in (1) to (3) with the target word underlined with expected targets presented to the left of unexpected targets:


Additive effects of repetition and predictability during comprehension: evidence from event-related potentials.

Chow WY, Lago S, Barrios S, Parker D, Morini G, Lau E - PLoS ONE (2014)

The three phases used in the experimental paradigm: familiarization (left), sentence comprehension (center) and memory recognition test (right).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4048264&req=5

pone-0099199-g001: The three phases used in the experimental paradigm: familiarization (left), sentence comprehension (center) and memory recognition test (right).
Mentions: As illustrated in Figure 1, the paradigm consisted of a familiarization phase, a reading comprehension phase and a recognition test phase. In the familiarization phase participants were asked to study a set of words for a later recognition memory test. Since differences at initial memory encoding have been shown to affect the amplitude of the N400 during later recognition [51]–[52], we presented the words in isolation rather than in sentence contexts to minimize systematic encoding differences. In between the familiarization and the recognition memory test phase, participants read a list of sentences for comprehension while their electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded. We manipulated whether the target words had been studied in the familiarization phase or not (old vs. new) as well as their predictability in the sentence context (expected vs. unexpected), which was operationalized as their cloze probability. In order to avoid floor effects on the N400 amplitude (cfr. [26]), we used expected target words of intermediate cloze probability (7.9–39.5%). Representative sample items are shown in (1) to (3) with the target word underlined with expected targets presented to the left of unexpected targets:

Bottom Line: Previous research has shown that neural responses to words during sentence comprehension are sensitive to both lexical repetition and a word's predictability in context.While previous research has often contrasted the effects of these variables (e.g. by looking at cases in which word repetition violates sentence-level constraints), little is known about how they work in tandem.Using event-related brain potentials (ERPs), we show that word repetition and predictability have qualitatively similar and additive effects on the N400 amplitude.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Linguistics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States of America; Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Donostia - San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain.

ABSTRACT
Previous research has shown that neural responses to words during sentence comprehension are sensitive to both lexical repetition and a word's predictability in context. While previous research has often contrasted the effects of these variables (e.g. by looking at cases in which word repetition violates sentence-level constraints), little is known about how they work in tandem. In the current study we examine how recent exposure to a word and its predictability in context combine to impact lexical semantic processing. We devise a novel paradigm that combines reading comprehension with a recognition memory task, allowing for an orthogonal manipulation of a word's predictability and its repetition status. Using event-related brain potentials (ERPs), we show that word repetition and predictability have qualitatively similar and additive effects on the N400 amplitude. We propose that prior exposure to a word and predictability impact lexical semantic processing in an additive and independent fashion.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus