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Clin Neurophysiol. 2002 Jun;113(6):844-52.

The costs of freedom: an ERP -- study of non-canonical sentences.

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1
Department of Neurology II, University of Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The present investigation explored the electrophysiological correlates of working memory during sentence comprehension.

METHODS:

Event-related brain potentials (ERP) were recorded from 29 channels in 22 subjects, while they read German sentences having subject-first (canonical) or object-first (non-canonical) word orders.

RESULTS:

Three different ERP effects were observed: a negativity (maximum at Fc5) differentiating unambiguous object-first and subject-first sentences, interpreted as reflecting the demands of the object-first sentences on working memory; a second negativity (maximum at F7) to the subject noun-phrase in object-first sentences, interpreted as indicating retrieval of verbal material. Finally, a parietal positivity was found for ambiguous sentences that turned out to have a non-canonical word order, which was interpreted as indicating revision and reevaluation processes.

CONCLUSIONS:

The present data underscore the different roles of working memory in comprehension.

PMID:
12048043
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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