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Alpha and gamma band oscillations index differential processing of acoustically reduced and full forms

Drijvers, L., Mulder, K., & Ernestus, M. (2016). Alpha and gamma band oscillations index differential processing of acoustically reduced and full forms. Brain and Language, 153-154, 27-37. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2016.01.003.
Reduced forms like yeshay for yesterday often occur in conversations. Previous behavioral research reported a processing advantage for full over reduced forms. The present study investigated whether this processing advantage is reflected in a modulation of alpha (8–12 Hz) and gamma (30+ Hz) band activity. In three electrophysiological experiments, participants listened to full and reduced forms in isolation (Experiment 1), sentence-final position (Experiment 2), or mid-sentence position (Experiment 3). Alpha power was larger in response to reduced forms than to full forms, but only in Experiments 1 and 2. We interpret these increases in alpha power as reflections of higher auditory cognitive load. In all experiments, gamma power only increased in response to full forms, which we interpret as showing that lexical activation spreads more quickly through the semantic network for full than for reduced forms. These results confirm a processing advantage for full forms, especially in non-medial sentence position.
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The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

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