Andrea E. Martin


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  • Martin, A. E., Nieuwland, M. S., & Carrieras, M. (2014). Agreement attraction during comprehension of grammatical sentences: ERP evidence from ellipsis. Brain and Language, 135, 42-51. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2014.05.001.


    Successful dependency resolution during language comprehension relies on accessing certain representations in memory, and not others. We recently reported event-related potential (ERP) evidence that syntactically unavailable, intervening attractor-nouns interfered during comprehension of Spanish noun-phrase ellipsis (the determiner otra/otro): grammatically correct determiners that mismatched the gender of attractor-nouns elicited a sustained negativity as also observed for incorrect determiners (Martin, Nieuwland, & Carreiras, 2012). The current study sought to extend this novel finding in sentences containing object-extracted relative clauses, where the antecedent may be less prominent. Whereas correct determiners that matched the gender of attractor-nouns now elicited an early anterior negativity as also observed for mismatching determiners, the previously reported interaction pattern was replicated in P600 responses to subsequent words. Our results suggest that structural and gender information is simultaneously taken into account, providing further evidence for retrieval interference during comprehension of grammatical sentences.
  • Martin, A. E., & McElree, B. (2011). Direct-access retrieval during sentence comprehension: Evidence from Sluicing. Journal of Memory and Language, 64(4), 327-343. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2010.12.006.


    Language comprehension requires recovering meaning from linguistic form, even when the mapping between the two is indirect. A canonical example is ellipsis, the omission of information that is subsequently understood without being overtly pronounced. Comprehension of ellipsis requires retrieval of an antecedent from memory, without prior prediction, a property which enables the study of retrieval in situ ( Martin and McElree, 2008 and Martin and McElree, 2009). Sluicing, or inflectional-phrase ellipsis, in the presence of a conjunction, presents a test case where a competing antecedent position is syntactically licensed, in contrast with most cases of nonadjacent dependency, including verb–phrase ellipsis. We present speed–accuracy tradeoff and eye-movement data inconsistent with the hypothesis that retrieval is accomplished via a syntactically guided search, a particular variant of search not examined in past research. The observed timecourse profiles are consistent with the hypothesis that antecedents are retrieved via a cue-dependent direct-access mechanism susceptible to general memory variables.

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