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Brain Res. 2007 Dec 14;1185:201-11. Epub 2007 Sep 21.

An ERP study of agreement features in Spanish.

Author information

1
Group de Psicología Cognitiva, Departmento de Psicología Cognitiva, Social y Organizacional, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain. jpereyra@ull.es

Abstract

The goal of the present study was to investigate whether two morphological agreement features, Person and Number, play a different role in the agreement process. According to the Feature Hierarchy hypothesis, different nominal agreement features have different degrees of cognitive strength (e.g., Person>Number). Event-related potentials (ERPs) were collected from Spanish speakers while they read sentences in which either Person Disagreement (PD; e.g., Tú salto en el patio [You (2ndPerSing) jump (1stPerSing) in the backyard]), Number Disagreement (ND; e.g., Nosotros salto en el patio [We (1stPerPl) jump (1stPerSing) in the backyard]) or both Person and Number Disagreement (NPD; e.g., Ustedes salto en el patio [You (2ndPerPl) jump (1stPerSing) in the backyard]) relationships were manipulated. ND, PD and NPD all elicited an anterior negativity (AN) and P600 pattern. An AN effect was only found in the NPD with a different topography from the classic LAN effect as it was lateralized to right and central sites. The P600 effect elicited by the NPD condition was larger than the agreement condition and that of ND and PD in the first window 500-700, while the three disagreement conditions elicited larger P600 amplitudes than the agreement condition in the second window 700-900. There were no differences between the processing of person and number. Thus, the combination of number and person disagreement could be solved in parallel through an additive mechanism of the two features. These results do not support the Feature Hierarchy hypothesis.

PMID:
17963736
DOI:
10.1016/j.brainres.2007.09.029
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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