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Clin Linguist Phon. 2014 Nov;28(11):812-25. doi: 10.3109/02699206.2014.910555. Epub 2014 Apr 29.

An electrophysiological investigation of discourse coherence in healthy adults.

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Department of Linguistics and Communication Disorders, Queens College, City University of New York , USA .


This study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate discourse-coherence processing. Because there are scant data on ERP indices of discourse coherence in typical adults, it is important to study a non-clinical population before examining clinical populations. Twelve adults listened to a story with sentences in a coherent versus incoherent order. Sequences of nonsense syllables served as a control. ERPs in the 200-400 ms time window, reflecting phonological and lexical processing, and in the 600-900 ms time window, reflecting later discourse processing for integration, were investigated. Results revealed a right anterior and posterior positivity that was greater for coherent than for incoherent discourse during the 600-900 ms time window. These findings point to an index of discourse coherence and further suggest that ERPs can be used as a clinical tool to study discourse-processing disorders in populations with brain damage, such as aphasia and traumatic brain injury.


Aphasia; discourse coherence; event-related potentials; lateralized anterior positivity (LAP)

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