The present experiment investigated cortical responses of native Italian subjects during reading of short sentences including semantic or morphosyntactic violations. Given the specificity of the Italian language in which the sequencing of words is relatively more free than in English or other languages, we investigated whether syntactic and semantic violations were able to elicit event-related potential (ERP) components similar to those found in other languages. Cortical potentials evoked by the anomalous target word were recorded at frontal, central and parietal electrodes. Results showed that, in Italian, semantic anomaly elicited a negative wave (N400) in the 400-500 ms time-window and syntactic error evoked a slower positive wave (P600) in the 500-700 ms time-window. Syntactic error also evoked a significant left anterior negativity in the 350-450 ms time-window, supporting the view that syntactic processes precedes semantic analysis. Thus, Italian language, notwithstanding its specificity, shows ERPs responses to semantic and syntactic violations, with effects, scalp distribution and latency similar to those found in German, Dutch and English. Results point to a cross-linguistic consistency of the semantic and syntactic ERP components associated with the detection of linguistic anomalies.

Cortical brain responses to semantic incongruity and syntactic violation in Italian language: An event-related potential study

PENOLAZZI, Barbara;
2002

Abstract

The present experiment investigated cortical responses of native Italian subjects during reading of short sentences including semantic or morphosyntactic violations. Given the specificity of the Italian language in which the sequencing of words is relatively more free than in English or other languages, we investigated whether syntactic and semantic violations were able to elicit event-related potential (ERP) components similar to those found in other languages. Cortical potentials evoked by the anomalous target word were recorded at frontal, central and parietal electrodes. Results showed that, in Italian, semantic anomaly elicited a negative wave (N400) in the 400-500 ms time-window and syntactic error evoked a slower positive wave (P600) in the 500-700 ms time-window. Syntactic error also evoked a significant left anterior negativity in the 350-450 ms time-window, supporting the view that syntactic processes precedes semantic analysis. Thus, Italian language, notwithstanding its specificity, shows ERPs responses to semantic and syntactic violations, with effects, scalp distribution and latency similar to those found in German, Dutch and English. Results point to a cross-linguistic consistency of the semantic and syntactic ERP components associated with the detection of linguistic anomalies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2845811
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