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Parafoveal versus foveal N400s dissociate spreading activation from contextual fit

  • Using concurrent electroencephalogram and eye movement measures to track natural reading, this study shows that N400 effects reflecting predictability are dissociable from those owing to spreading activation. In comparing predicted sentence endings with related and unrelated unpredicted endings in antonym constructions (‘the opposite of black is white/yellow/nice’), fixation-related potentials at the critical word revealed a predictability-based N400 effect (unpredicted vs. predicted words). By contrast, event-related potentials time locked to the last fixation before the critical word showed an N400 only for the nonrelated unpredicted condition (nice). This effect is attributed to a parafoveal mismatch between the critical word and preactivated lexical features (i.e. features of the predicted word and its associates). In addition to providing the first demonstration of a parafoveally induced N400 effect, our results support the view that the N400 is best viewed as a component family.

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Author:Franziska KretzschmarGND, Ina Bornkessel-SchlesewskyORCiDGND, Matthias SchlesewskyGND
Parent Title (English):NeuroReport
Publisher:Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Place of publication:Philadelphia
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2009
Date of Publication (online):2020/12/18
Tag:N400; evoked potentials; eye movements; fixation-related potentials; psycholinguistics; reading; semantic predictability; semantic relatedness
GND Keyword:Blickregistrierung; Evoziertes Potenzial; Kognitive Semantik; Psycholinguistik; Semantik; Sprachverarbeitung <Psycholinguistik>
First Page:1613
Last Page:1618
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:nein
Licence (German):Es gilt das UrhG