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J Cogn Neurosci. 2004 May;16(4):702-13.

An FMRI study of syntactic adaptation.

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Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, University College London, UK.


It is easier to produce and comprehend a series of sentences when they have similar syntactic structures. This "syntactic priming" effect was investigated during silent sentence reading using (i) blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) response as a physiological measure in an f MRI study and (ii) reading time as a behavioral measure in a complementary self paced reading paradigm. We found that reading time and left anterior temporal activation were decreased when subjects read sentences with similar relative to dissimilar syntactic forms. Thus, syntactic adaptation during sentence comprehension is demonstrated in a neural area that has previously been linked to both lexical semantic and sentence processing.

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