Postersession 2
Poster #: 107
Topic: Speech and language (incl. deficits)
Thursday, Sep 10, 2015
1st floor

Early and interactive stored-form (symbol) access and combinatorial (rule) processing in constructing constructions: a MMN study

Guglielmo Lucchese1, Jeff Hanna1, Anne Autenrieb1, Natalie Miller, & Friedemann Pulvermüller1

1Brain Language Lab, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Combinatorial mechanisms and access to stored signs in the brain are indexed by the MMN that can be used for determining their time course and interaction.

We probed 16 mini-constructions that were either well-formed [ich leide (=suffer), ich zeige (=show), wir schweigen (=keep silent), wir scheiden (=separate)]; ill-combined (*ich schweigen, *ich scheiden, *wir leide, *wir zeige); containing a pseudoword (ich schweide*, ich scheige*, wir leigen*, wir zeiden*); or containing a pseudoword and morphosyntactically ill-combined (*ich leigen*, *ich zeiden*, *wir schweide*, *wir scheige*). The Storage and Combination factors were orthogonally varied keeping the critical last syllables constant. Spoken phrases were presented in 2 blocks of a MMN multifeature paradigm with each pronoun as standard stimulus and the 8 verbs as deviants. Data from 23 subjects were analysed with repeated-measures ANOVAs.

The ERPs showed a main effect of Storage [F(1,22)=4.6, p=0.04] 100ms after last syllable onset and an effect of Combination varying across hemispheres [F(1,22)=6.9, p=0.01] at 105ms. Responses emerged at 270ms for both ill-combined and pseudo-verb-containing strings. Double violations failed to elicit a response. This resulted in a significant interaction of the Storage and Combination factors [F(1,22)=6.9, p=0.01].

Construction storage-related and combinatorial processes are indexed very early by different brain signatures resembling, respectively, the lexical and syntactic MMN. At a second stage interactive storage-related and combinatorial processing is evident, possibly reflecting the search for alternatives to incongruent stimuli, which may be aborted in the case of double violations.