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Representation and processing of multi-word expressions in the brain

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journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2021, 01:12 by Anna Siyanova, K Conklin, S Caffarra, E Kaan, WJB van Heuven
© 2017 Elsevier Inc. Language comprehension is sensitive to the predictability of the upcoming information. Prediction allows for smooth, expedient and successful communication. While general discourse-based constraints have been investigated in detail, more specific phrase-level prediction has received little attention. We address this gap by exploring the ERPs elicited during the comprehension of English binomials – familiar and predictable multi-word expressions. In Experiment 1a, participants read binomial expressions (knife and fork), infrequent strongly associated phrases (spoon and fork), and semantic violations (theme and fork). In Experiment 1b, participants read the same stimuli without “and”. Experiment 1a revealed that binomials elicited larger P300s and smaller N400s compared to the other conditions, reflecting the activation of a ‘template’ that matches the upcoming information (P300) and pointing to easier semantic integration (N400). In contrast, no differences were observed between binomials and associates in Experiment 1b. We conclude that distinct mechanisms underlie the processing of predicable and novel sequences.

History

Preferred citation

Siyanova-Chanturia, A., Conklin, K., Caffarra, S., Kaan, E. & van Heuven, W. J. B. (2017). Representation and processing of multi-word expressions in the brain. Brain and Language, 175, 111-122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2017.10.004

Journal title

Brain and Language

Volume

175

Publication date

01/12/2017

Pagination

111-122

Publisher

Elsevier BV

Publication status

Published

Contribution type

Article

ISSN

0093-934X

eISSN

1090-2155

Language

en

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