Processing events: Behavioral and neuromagnetic correlates of Aspectual Coercion

Jonathan Brennan, Liina Pylkkänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Much recent psycho- and neuro-linguistic work has aimed to elucidate the mechanisms by which sentence meanings are composed by investigating the processing of semantic mismatch. One controversial case for theories of semantic composition is expressions such as the clown jumped for ten minutes, in which the aspectual properties of a punctual verb clash with those of a durative modifier. Such sentences have been proposed to involve a coercion operation which shifts the punctual meaning of the verb to an iterative one. However, processing studies addressing this hypothesis have yielded mixed results. In this study, we tested four hypotheses of how aspectual mismatch is resolved with self-paced reading and magnetoencephalography. Using a set of verbs normed for punctuality, we identified an immediate behavioral cost of mismatch. The neural correlates of this processing were found to match effects in midline prefrontal regions previously implicated in the resolution of complement coercion. We also identified earlier effects in right-lateral frontal and temporal sites. We suggest that of the representational hypotheses currently in the literature, these data are most consistent with an account where aspectual mismatch initially involves the composition of an anomalous meaning that is later repaired via coercion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-143
Number of pages12
JournalBrain and Language
Volume106
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2008

Fingerprint

Coercion
mismatch
Semantics
event
Magnetoencephalography
semantics
Linguistics
Reading
Costs and Cost Analysis
linguistics
Mismatch
Aspectual Coercion
costs
Verbs

Keywords

  • AMF
  • Aspectual Coercion
  • MEG
  • Semantic composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Processing events : Behavioral and neuromagnetic correlates of Aspectual Coercion. / Brennan, Jonathan; Pylkkänen, Liina.

In: Brain and Language, Vol. 106, No. 2, 08.2008, p. 132-143.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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