Brain responses to agreement violations of Chinese grammatical aspect

Department of Psychology, Peking University, Key Laboratory of Machine Perception, Ministry of Education, Beijing, China.
Neuroreport (Impact Factor: 1.52). 08/2008; 19(10):1039-43. DOI: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328302f14f
Source: PubMed


Grammatical aspect captures ways in which a language uses grammatical markers to describe the temporal structure of an event. An event-related potential experiment was conducted to investigate event-related potential correlates of agreement violations of Chinese grammatical aspect. Participants read sentences containing either aspect agreement violations, semantic violations, or no violations. Semantic violations elicited an N400, whereas aspectual violations elicited a 200-400 ms posterior and left central negativity, followed by a P600, instead of left anterior negativity or N400, suggesting that left anterior negativities may not reflect a general, rule-governed, syntactically compositional process, and that grammatical aspect processing is at least not completely semantically driven. The negativity mostly reflects a failure to bind aspect markers or the detection of aspectual errors.

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