You are here: Home Publications Quantification, prediction, and the online impact of sentence truth-value: Evidence from event-related potentials.

Quantification, prediction, and the online impact of sentence truth-value: Evidence from event-related potentials.

Nieuwland, M. S. (2016). Quantification, prediction, and the online impact of sentence truth-value: Evidence from event-related potentials. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42(2), 316-334. doi:10.1037/xlm0000173.
Do negative quantifiers like “few” reduce people’s ability to rapidly evaluate incoming language with respect to world knowledge? Previous research has addressed this question by examining whether online measures of quantifier comprehension match the “final” interpretation reflected in verification judgments. However, these studies confounded quantifier valence with its impact on the unfolding expectations for upcoming words, yielding mixed results. In the current event-related potentials study, participants read negative and positive quantifier sentences matched on cloze probability and on truth-value (e.g., “Most/Few gardeners plant their flowers during the spring/winter for best results”). Regardless of whether participants explicitly verified the sentences or not, true-positive quantifier sentences elicited reduced N400s compared with false-positive quantifier sentences, reflecting the facilitated semantic retrieval of words that render a sentence true. No such facilitation was seen in negative quantifier sentences. However, mixed-effects model analyses (with cloze value and truth-value as continuous predictors) revealed that decreasing cloze values were associated with an interaction pattern between truth-value and quantifier, whereas increasing cloze values were associated with more similar truth-value effects regardless of quantifier. Quantifier sentences are thus understood neither always in 2 sequential stages, nor always in a partial-incremental fashion, nor always in a maximally incremental fashion. Instead, and in accordance with prediction-based views of sentence comprehension, quantifier sentence comprehension depends on incorporation of quantifier meaning into an online, knowledge-based prediction for upcoming words. Fully incremental quantifier interpretation occurs when quantifiers are incorporated into sufficiently strong online predictions for upcoming words. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
About MPI

This is the MPI

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.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn