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Processing focus structure and implicit prosody during reading: Differential ERP effects

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kai Alter


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Several recent studies have shown that focus structural representations influence syntactic processing during reading, while other studies have shown that implicit prosody plays an important role in the understanding of written language. Up until now, the relationship between these two processes has been mostly disregarded. The present study disentangles the roles of focus structure and accent placement in reading by reporting event-related brain potential (ERP) data on the processing of contrastive ellipses. The results reveal a positive-going waveform (350-1300 ms) that correlates with focus structural processing and a negativity (450-650 ms) interpreted as the correlate of implicit prosodic processing. The results suggest that the assignment of focus as well as accent placement are obligatory processes during reading. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stolterfoht B, Friederici A, Alter K, Steube A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cognition

Year: 2007

Volume: 104

Issue: 3

Pages: 565-590

Print publication date: 01/09/2007

ISSN (print): 0010-0277

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7838

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2006.08.001


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