Poster D112, Monday, March 26, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
P300, dispositional affect and sentence processing
Janahan Selvanayagam1, Victoria Witte2, Louis Schmidt3, Veena D. Dwivedi1; 1Brock University, 2Heidelberg University, 3McMaster University
We used event-related brain potentials (ERPs) in a dual task study to investigate modulation of the P300 ERP component by affective state. Using the paradigm of Dwivedi & Gibson (2017), we employed a 3x2 design where 25 participants read sentences presented in 1- and 2-word chunks (Berent et al., 2005; Patson & Warren, 2010). Sentences started with subject nouns that were either universally quantified or not e.g., (i) Every kid climbed a tree vs. (ii) The kid climbed a tree, and continued with a direct object which was either indefinite singular, see (i), (ii) above, or definite singular/plural, as in (iii)/(iv) Every/The kid climbed the tree and (v)/(vi) Every/The kid climbed the trees. Number judgments were required at tree(s), which was always presented alone (and never final). As in our previous work, all conditions elicited a P300 effect. However, clear individual differences were apparent in this study. Participants who scored high on Positive Affect (as measured by the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), showed P300 responses almost identical to what was found previously. In contrast, participants who scored low on Positive Affect (PA), showed P300 responses that were consistent not with meaning, but with target stimulus probability. We interpret these findings as follows: people with high PA scores are sensitive to heuristic meaning; they are sensitive to the semantic cue of number (singular/plural) during sentence processing. Individuals with low PA scores are less engaged with sentence interpretation and instead are more engaged with task performance.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Syntax