Poster C84, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
"I deny my expectations. Even so, I predict": Differential electrophysiological effects of concession and result connectives in discourse comprehension
Edward Alexander1, Einat Shetreet2, Connie Choi1, Ming Xiang3, Gina Kuperberg1,4,5; 1Department of Psychology, Tufts University, 2Department of Linguistics, Tel Aviv University, 3Department of Linguistics, University of Chicago, 4MGH/MIT/HMS Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, 5Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital
We used event-related potentials (ERPs) to compare comprehenders’ use of two types of discourse connectives to predict upcoming events: “Therefore”, which tells comprehenders to expect a specific causal relationship (Result), and “Even so”, which tells comprehenders to deny expectations, based on their real-world knowledge (Concession). Participants read two-sentence contexts followed by a third sentence, presented word by word, beginning with either “Therefore” or “Even so”. ERPs were measured on critical words that rendered scenarios coherent or incoherent (“Elizabeth aced/failed her test… Therefore/Even so, she CELEBRATED…”). The amplitude of the N400 between 355-390 ms was reduced on coherent (versus incoherent) critical words following “Even so”, but not following “Therefore”. A posteriorly distributed late positivity was larger to incoherent (versus coherent) critical words, regardless of the preceding connective, and, between 750-1000 ms, this effect was larger following “Even so” than following “Therefore”. These findings suggest that, while both connectives influenced online neural processing, “Even so” led comprehenders to generate stronger predictions about upcoming events than “Therefore”.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Semantic