Poster A58, Saturday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Working Memory and Cognitive Control Modulate Effects of Speaker Reliability on Predictive Processing during Comprehension
Shruti Dave1, Trevor Brothers1, Matthew Traxler1, Tamara Swaab1; 1University of California, Davis
Previous work has shown that lexical prediction can be strategically modulated by task demands (Brothers et al, in press) and by the current comprehension environment (Brothers, Dave, Hoversten, Swaab, & Traxler, 2016). In the present study,we manipulated speaker reliability to explore if responsivity to predictive environment is modulated by individual differences in working memory (WM) and cognitive control (CC). Undergraduates listened to sentences spoken by two speakers – a "reliable" speaker who primarily produced sentences with predictable (High Cloze) continuations and an "unreliable" speaker who typically produced sentences with plausible but unexpected (Low Cloze) continuations. N400 effects of cloze probability were significantly larger for the reliable than for the unreliable speaker. Previous studies have shown that performance on WM and CC tasks can reliably predict the size of ERP effects during spoken language comprehension (e.g., Dave, Brothers, Traxler, & Swaab, 2015; Boudewyn et al., 2015; Nakano et al. 2010). We hypothesized that the scores on such tasks would predict the effects of speaker reliability on the size of the N400 cloze effects. Individual differences were measured with Flanker (CC) and listening span (WM) tasks. The results showed that the effects of speaker reliability on predictability were driven by listeners with higher scores on the WM and CC tasks. Moreover, good performance on the CC task enhanced the N400 effect of speaker reliability, but only for individuals with low WM scores. This suggests that dynamic modulation of predictive language comprehension strategies is driven by interactions across subcomponents of executive function.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Semantic