Processing psych verbs

Behavioural and MEG measures of two different types of semantic complexity

Jonathan Brennan, Liina Pylkkänen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Many studies have addressed how linguistic complexity affects processing in online comprehension. However, little attention has been given to the relationship between different types of semantic complexity. We investigated two kinds of complexity that have previously been studied separately: coercion, where the meaning of a lexical item is shifted by context, and lexical semantic complexity, which describes the inherent semantic complexity of a lexical item. To compare their processing mechanisms, we used psychological verbs, which divide into two classes with different degrees of lexical semantic complexity, and also participate in a previously uninvestigated coercion, inchoative coercion. Using self-paced reading, we find a reading delay associated with both types of complexity, supporting theories that strongly connect representational complexity and processing. A subsequent magnetoencephalography study showed a distributed fronto-temporal effect around 300-500 ms for coercion but not for lexical semantic complexity. Our results conform with prior studies showing a prefrontal effect of coercion and suggest that lexical semantic complexity is processed via different mechanisms than coercion.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)777-807
    Number of pages31
    JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
    Volume25
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 2010

    Fingerprint

    Coercion
    Semantics
    semantics
    Reading
    Magnetoencephalography
    Linguistics
    Verb Processing
    Psychology
    comprehension
    Lexical Semantics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Linguistics and Language
    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

    Cite this

    Processing psych verbs : Behavioural and MEG measures of two different types of semantic complexity. / Brennan, Jonathan; Pylkkänen, Liina.

    In: Language and Cognitive Processes, Vol. 25, No. 6, 07.2010, p. 777-807.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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