Advanced

Brain responses to syntax constrained by time-driven implicit prosodic phrases

Schremm, Andrea LU ; Horne, Merle LU and Roll, Mikael LU (2015) In Journal of Neurolinguistics 35. p.68-84
Abstract
Previous research suggests that time-based working memory limits of 2-3 s constrain the integration of verbal information, and that speakers tend to parse sentences into prosodic phrases that do not extend beyond this time window. The present study used Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) to investigate how time-driven implicit prosodic phrasing influences the syntactic processing of embedded clauses. Participants read Swedish sentences in which the first embedded clause had a subordinate, main or neutral clause structure cued by the position of the sentence adverb. The presentation rate was manipulated so that either one or two clauses were read within 2.7 s. When the 2.7 s time limit was reached before the onset of the embedded clause, the... (More)
Previous research suggests that time-based working memory limits of 2-3 s constrain the integration of verbal information, and that speakers tend to parse sentences into prosodic phrases that do not extend beyond this time window. The present study used Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) to investigate how time-driven implicit prosodic phrasing influences the syntactic processing of embedded clauses. Participants read Swedish sentences in which the first embedded clause had a subordinate, main or neutral clause structure cued by the position of the sentence adverb. The presentation rate was manipulated so that either one or two clauses were read within 2.7 s. When the 2.7 s time limit was reached before the onset of the embedded clause, the sentence adverb indicating subordinate clause structure elicited a posterior negativity and a late positivity. These effects were interpreted to reflect the detection of unexpected word order, followed by the revision of the anticipated main clause structure. A positive shift that correlated with individual working memory span was also seen at the clause-final word after 2.7 s, possibly indicating closure of an implicit prosodic phrase. These results suggest that prosodic phrasing was influenced by time-based working memory limits, which in turn affected syntactic analysis: readers were more likely to interpret an embedded clause as a main clause if it could be associated with the beginning of a new prosodic phrase. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
event-related potentials, syntax, working memory, scrambling negativity, prosodic phrase, implicit prosody
in
Journal of Neurolinguistics
volume
35
pages
68 - 84
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000356200100006
  • scopus:84927556153
ISSN
0911-6044
DOI
10.1016/j.jneuroling.2015.03.002
project
Neurofysiologiska mätningar av syntaktisk bearbetning och tidsbegränsningar på arbetsminne
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
48e30f37-23e6-4416-9ad2-b9d493c12185 (old id 5275826)
alternative location
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0911604415000172
date added to LUP
2015-04-15 14:05:42
date last changed
2017-11-05 03:16:17
@article{48e30f37-23e6-4416-9ad2-b9d493c12185,
  abstract     = {Previous research suggests that time-based working memory limits of 2-3 s constrain the integration of verbal information, and that speakers tend to parse sentences into prosodic phrases that do not extend beyond this time window. The present study used Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) to investigate how time-driven implicit prosodic phrasing influences the syntactic processing of embedded clauses. Participants read Swedish sentences in which the first embedded clause had a subordinate, main or neutral clause structure cued by the position of the sentence adverb. The presentation rate was manipulated so that either one or two clauses were read within 2.7 s. When the 2.7 s time limit was reached before the onset of the embedded clause, the sentence adverb indicating subordinate clause structure elicited a posterior negativity and a late positivity. These effects were interpreted to reflect the detection of unexpected word order, followed by the revision of the anticipated main clause structure. A positive shift that correlated with individual working memory span was also seen at the clause-final word after 2.7 s, possibly indicating closure of an implicit prosodic phrase. These results suggest that prosodic phrasing was influenced by time-based working memory limits, which in turn affected syntactic analysis: readers were more likely to interpret an embedded clause as a main clause if it could be associated with the beginning of a new prosodic phrase.},
  author       = {Schremm, Andrea and Horne, Merle and Roll, Mikael},
  issn         = {0911-6044},
  keyword      = {event-related potentials,syntax,working memory,scrambling negativity,prosodic phrase,implicit prosody},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {68--84},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Journal of Neurolinguistics},
  title        = {Brain responses to syntax constrained by time-driven implicit prosodic phrases},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneuroling.2015.03.002},
  volume       = {35},
  year         = {2015},
}