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ERIC Number: EJ945236
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0028-3932
Meaningful Physical Changes Mediate Lexical-Semantic Integration: Top-Down and Form-Based Bottom-Up Information Sources Interact in the N400
Lotze, Netaya; Tune, Sarah; Schlesewsky, Matthias; Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Ina
Neuropsychologia, v49 n13 p3573-3582 Nov 2011
Models of how the human brain reconstructs an intended meaning from a linguistic input often draw upon the N400 event-related potential (ERP) component as evidence. Current accounts of the N400 emphasise either the role of contextually induced lexical preactivation of a critical word (Lau, Phillips, & Poeppel, 2008) or the ease of integration into the overall discourse context including a wide variety of influencing factors (Hagoort & van Berkum, 2007). The present ERP study challenges both types of accounts by demonstrating a contextually independent and purely form-based bottom-up influence on the N400: the N400 effect for implausible sentence-endings was attenuated when the critical sentence-final word was capitalised (following a lowercase sentence context). By contrast, no N400 modulation occurred when the critical word involved a change from uppercase (sentence context) to lowercase. Thus, the N400 was only affected by a change to uppercase letters, as is often employed in computer-mediated communication as a sign of emphasis. This result indicates that N400 amplitude is reduced for unexpected words when a bottom-up (orthographic) cue signals that the word is likely to be highly informative. The lexical-semantic N400 thereby reflects the degree to which the semantic informativity of a critical word matches expectations, as determined by an interplay between top-down and bottom-up information sources, including purely form-based bottom-up information. (Contains 2 tables and 5 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A