ABSTRACT: In the present study we analyzed the processing of grammatically anomalous sentences like "The famous dancer were nervously preparing herself/themselves to face the crowd.", which contains two anomalies, one early and one late. We investigated how processing of the later anomaly (at the pronoun 'herself' or 'themselves') was affected by the processing of the early anomaly (at 'were'). We considered two processing scenarios involving the first anomaly: (1) The representation of the subject-verb number agreement error at the first verb is coerced to match the verb, rendering 'herself' anomalous; (2) The representation of the subject-verb agreement error is coerced to match the subject noun, rendering 'themselves' anomalous. Our dependent measure was event-related scalp potentials (ERPs). When the pronoun disagreed with the verb (and agreed with the subject), a P600 was recorded, while the opposite condition elicited no reliable effect. Our data suggest that interpretation of reflexive pronouns involves the reactivation of multiple lexical items, verbs included.
Cognition 03/2008; 106(2):963-74. · 3.16 Impact Factor