Anticipating upcoming words in discourse: Evidence from ERPs and reading times
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SourceJournal of Experimental Psychology : Learning, Memory and Cognition, 31, 3, (2005), pp. 443-466
Article / Letter to editor
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Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
SW OZ DCC CO
F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
SW OZ NICI CO
Journal of Experimental Psychology : Learning, Memory and Cognition
Subject110 000 Neurocognition of Language; Psycholinguistics
The authors examined whether people can use their knowledge of the wider discourse rapidly enough to anticipate specific upcoming words as a sentence is unfolding. In an event-related brain potential (ERP) experiment, subjects heard Dutch stories that supported the prediction of a specific noun. To probe whether this noun was anticipated at a preceding indefinite article, stories were continued with a gender-marked adjective whose suffix mismatched the upcoming noun's syntactic gender. Prediction-inconsistent adjectives elicited a differential ERP effect, which disappeared in a no-discourse control experiment. Furthermore, in self-paced reading, prediction-inconsistent adjectives slowed readers down before the noun. These findings suggest that people can indeed predict upcoming words in fluent discourse and, moreover, that these predicted words can immediately begin to participate in incremental parsing operations.
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