Poster F51, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Relational versus Plural Concepts: The Role of the Left Angular Gyrus
Adina Williams1, Liina Pylkkänen1,2; 1New York University, New York, 2New York University, Abu Dhabi
The left Angular Gyrus (lAG) has been found to play a role in relational processing, showing more activation for words that label relational concepts (such as ‘mother,’ which names a relation between a female parent and her child) than nonrelational concepts (e.g., lady) (Williams et al. 2017, Thompson 2007). Another strand of research (Domahs et al. 2014, Boiteau et al. 2014) finds that plural concepts (e.g., ladies) drive lAG activity more than singularities (e.g., lady). Is there a single function for the lAG that can unify both sets of findings? If relational concepts activate possible objects that stand in the relation, then they should activate pluralities of objects, suggesting that relationality effects could be explained as plurality effects. We tested this by presenting singular and plural relational (e.g., sister/sisters) and non-relational (lady/ladies) nouns in isolation. Distributed MEG source activity localized in the left inferior parietal cortex was analyzed using cluster-based permutation tests. A 2 (relational/non-relational) x 2 (bare/plural-marked) ANOVA isolated a main effect of relationality (sister/sisters > lady/ladies) in a spatiotemporal cluster (in BA 39, 40) from 190-320ms after target noun onset. No effects of plural marking nor an interaction were discovered. These results rule out the hypothesis that the relationality effects isolated in previous studies can be explained as effects of plurality. Boiteau et al. (2014). Brain & Language. Domahs et al. (2014). J Cognitive Neuroscience. Thompson et al. (2007). J Cognitive Neuroscience. Williams et al. (2017). Neuropsychologia.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Semantic