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The ERP response to the amount of information conveyed by words in sentences.

Frank, SL; Otten, LJ; Galli, G; Vigliocco, G; (2015) The ERP response to the amount of information conveyed by words in sentences. Brain Lang , 140 1 - 11. 10.1016/j.bandl.2014.10.006. Green open access

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Abstract

Reading times on words in a sentence depend on the amount of information the words convey, which can be estimated by probabilistic language models. We investigate whether event-related potentials (ERPs), too, are predicted by information measures. Three types of language models estimated four different information measures on each word of a sample of English sentences. Six different ERP deflections were extracted from the EEG signal of participants reading the same sentences. A comparison between the information measures and ERPs revealed a reliable correlation between N400 amplitude and word surprisal. Language models that make no use of syntactic structure fitted the data better than did a phrase-structure grammar, which did not account for unique variance in N400 amplitude. These findings suggest that different information measures quantify cognitively different processes and that readers do not make use of a sentence's hierarchical structure for generating expectations about the upcoming word.

Type: Article
Title: The ERP response to the amount of information conveyed by words in sentences.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.bandl.2014.10.006
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2014.10.006
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
Keywords: Entropy, Event-related potentials, Information theory, Reading, Sentence comprehension, Surprisal
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1458382
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