Mante Nieuwland

Presentations

Displaying 1 - 64 of 64
  • Poulton, V., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2020). Can you hear what’s coming? The N200/PMN and phonological prediction. Poster presented at the Twelfth Annual (Virtual) Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL 2020).
  • Fleur, D., Flecken, M., Rommers, J., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2019). Definitely saw it coming? An ERP study on the role of article gender and definiteness in predictive processing. Poster presented at the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL 2019), Helsinki, Finland.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2019). Comprehension of pragmatic and referential meaning: An electrophysiological perspective [keynote]. Talk presented at Sinn und Bedeutung 24. Osnabrück, Germany. 2019-09-07.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2019). Discourse-based lexical anticipation: Insights from ERPs [keynote]. Talk presented at Discourse Expectations: Theoretical, Experimental, and Computational Perspectives (DETEC 2019). Berlin, Germany. 2019-09-27.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2019). Using real-world knowledge during language comprehension. Establishing reference during language comprehension. Linguistic predictions. Talk presented at the International Lecture series. Department of Linguistics and Translation. Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. 2019.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2018). Online pragmatic comprehension: An electrophysiological perspective [keynote]. Talk presented at XPRAG.it 2018 - Second Experimental Pragmatics in Italy Conference. Pavia, Italy. 2018-05-30 - 2018-06-01.

    Abstract

    One of the main challenges during online comprehension is relating an utterance to the wider communicative context, for example in terms of who or what an utterance refers to or whether the utterance is true or informative. In my talk, I will give a brief overview of my work, hoping to elucidate what can be learned from electrophysiology about the sources of information that guide incremental pragmatic comprehension
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2018). Referential ambiguity in language comprehension: An electrophysiological perspective [keynote]. Talk presented at Ambiguity as (Information) Gaps: Processes of Creation and Resolution. Tübingen, Germany. 2018-11-16 - 2018-11-17.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Martin, A. E. (2016). A neural oscillatory signature of reference. Poster presented at the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language, London.

    Abstract

    The ability to use linguistic representations to refer to the world is a vital mechanism that gives human language its communicative power. In particular, the anaphoric use of words to refer to previously mentioned concepts (antecedents) is what allows dialogue to be coherent and meaningful. Psycholinguistic theory posits that anaphor comprehension involves reactivating an episodic memory representation of the antecedent [1-2]. Whereas this implies the involvement of memory structures, the neural processes for reference resolution are largely unknown. Here, we report time-frequency analysis of four EEG experiments [3-6], revealing the increased coupling of functional neural systems associated with coherent referring expressions compared to referentially ambiguous expressions. We performed time-frequency analysis on data from four experiments in which referentially ambiguous expressions elicited a sustained negativity in the ERP waveform compared to coherent expressions. In Experiment 1, 32 participants read 120 correct Dutch sentences with coherent or ambiguous pronouns. In Experiment 2, 31 participants listened to 90 naturally spoken Dutch mini-stories containing coherent or ambiguous NP anaphora. In Experiment 3, 22 participants each read 60 Spanish sentences with a coherent or ambiguous ellipsis determiner. In Experiment 4, 19 participants each read 180 grammatically correct English sentences containing coherent or ambiguous pronouns. Analysis was performed with Fieldtrip [7], separately for low frequency (2-30 Hz) and high frequency (25-90 Hz) activity. Power-changes per trial were computed as a relative change from a pre-CW baseline interval, average power changes were computed per subject for coherent and ambiguous conditions separately. Statistical tests used cluster-based random permutation [8]. Despite varying in modality, language and type of expression, all experiments showed larger gamma-band power around 80 Hz for coherence compared to ambiguity, within a similar time range. No differences were observed in low frequencies. In high-density EEG Experiment 4, an additional short-duration gamma-increase was observed around 40 Hz, around 300-500 ms after pronoun-onset, which was localised using Beamformer analysis [9] to left posterior parietal cortex (PPC). The 80 Hz power increase around 600-1200 ms after word onset was localised to left inferior frontal-temporal cortex. We argue that the observed gamma-band power increases reflect successful referential binding and resolution, linking incoming information to previously encountered concepts and integrates that information into the unfolding discourse representation. Specifically, we argue that this involves antecedent reactivation in the PPC episodic memory network [10-11], interacting with unification processes in the frontal-temporal language network [12]. Based on these results, and on results of patient [13] and fMRI [14] research on pronoun comprehension, we propose an initial neurobiological account of reference, by bridging the psycholinguistics of anaphora with the neurobiology of language and of episodic memory. [1] Dell et al., 1983 [2] Gerrig & McKoon, 1998 [3] Nieuwland & Van Berkum, 2006 [4] Nieuwland et al., 2007a [5] Martin et al., 2012 [6] Nieuwland, 2014 [7] Oostenveld et al., 2011 [8] Maris & Oostenveld, 2007 [9] Gross et al., 2001 [10] Shannon & Buckner, 2004 [11] Wager et al., 2005 [12] Hagoort & Indefrey, 2014 [13] Kurczek et al., 2013 [14] Nieuwland et al., 2007b
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Martin, A. E. (2016). A neural oscillatory signature of reference. Talk presented at the Architectures and mechanisms for language processing (AMLaP2016). Bilbao, Spain. 2016-09-01 - 2016-09-03.

    Abstract

    The ability to use words to refer to the world is a vital mechanism that gives human language its communicative power. In particular, the use of words to refer to previously mentioned concepts (anaphora) is what allows dialogue to be coherent and meaningful. Psycholinguistic theory posits that anaphor comprehension involves reactivating a memory representation of the antecedent. Whereas this implies the involvement of episodic memory, the neural processes for reference resolution are largely unknown. Here, we report time-frequency analysis of four EEG experiments to reveal the increased coupling of functional neural systems associated with referring expressions that can be straightforwardly understood compared to those that cannot (referential coherence or ambiguity). Despite varying in modality, language and type of referential expression, all experiments showed larger gamma-band power for coherence compared to ambiguity. In high-density EEG Experiment 4, Beamformer analysis localised this increase to the posterior parietal cortex around 300-500 ms after onset of the anaphor and to frontal-temporal cortex around 500-1000 ms. We argue that the observed gamma-band power increases reflect successful referential binding and resolution, which links incoming information to previously encountered concepts through an interaction between the episodic memory network and the frontal-temporal language network.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2016). Negation and real-time language comprehension: Insights from electrophysiology. Talk presented at the workshop "Questions, answers and negation", hosted by the Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS). Berlin, Germany. 2016-01-20 - 2016-01-22.
  • Corley, M., Pickering, M., Martin, A. E., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2015). Predicting form and meaning: Evidence from ERPs. Poster presented at the 28th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
  • Ito, A., Corley, M., Pickering, M. J., Martin, A. E., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2015). Prediction of form and meaning? Evidence from brain potentials. Talk presented at the 28th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing. Los Angeles, CA. 2015-03-19 - 2015-03-21.
  • Kulakova, E., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2015). If sweets were made out of sugar: N400-effects of pragmatically inappropriate subjunctive antecedents. Poster presented at the 28th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2015). Processing sentence truth-value. Talk presented at the University of Bristol. UK. 2015.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2015). Quantification, prediction and the online impact of sentence truth-value: Evidence from event-related potentials. Talk presented at the 21nd Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLaP 2015). Valetta, Malta. 2015-09-03 - 2015-09-05.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2015). The Neurobiology of Reference. Talk presented at the MPI for Empirical Aesthetics. Frankfurt, Germany. 2015.
  • Martin, A. E., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2014). Similarity-based interference during comprehension of noun phrases: Evidence from ERPs. Poster presented at the 6h conference of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

    Abstract

    Current accounts of sentence comprehension invoke the notion of retrieval interference as a primary determinant of difficulty during processing [1-2]. Specifically, similarity between constituents (e.g., NP feature-overlap) has been argued to interfere when people resolve subject-verb or anaphoric dependencies [3-7]. We ask whether similarity-based interference effects arise as a function of multiple NPs in the discourse that overlap in gender and/or number. We take a novel approach by examining interference effects at the second NP rather than downstream after “maintaining” multiple NPs [6- 8], using ERPs to establish quantitative and qualitative processing consequences. We used the empty category PRO to introduce two NPs, only the second NP could be PRO controller (e.g., “While [PRO] talking to the waitresses, the man/men/woman/women inspected the menu”). If feature overlap affects processing of the second NP, most interference should occur under gender- and number-matching NPs. Because this interference crosses the subject-object distinction, we predicted that interference would elicit a P600 effect, the effect most reliably associated with syntactic processing difficulties [9]. Methods: During EEG recording, 24 participants read 160 grammatical sentences (40 per condition) in a 2(gender: match, mismatch) x 2(number: match, mismatch) factorial design where the first clause introduced the object-NP and had PRO as subject, and the matrix clause introduced the controller of PRO. Subject and object NPs could overlap in gender and/ or number. We fully counterbalanced 160 male/female singular/plural gender-definitional nouns as object NPs, and as critical NP always ‘woman/man/girl/boy’ (or plural form). Sentences were mixed with 156 fillers and presented word by word (300 ms duration, 200 ms blank), followed by intermittent comprehension questions (85% response accuracy). Results: Across all electrodes, a significant gender by number interaction was observed (500-800 ms window [9]; F(1,23)=6.02, p<.05), due to a robust P600 effect of number-mismatch in the gender- match conditions (M=-1.18, F(1,23)=8.04, p=.01), that did not occur in the gender-mismatch conditions (M=-.17, F(1,23)=.18, ns). No distributional effects were observed. Conclusions: The P600 effect for double-match NPs suggests that interference was driven by similarity contingent upon matching gender and number. Our results testify to the strength of gender-cues during incremental processing, consistent with memory-based accounts of discourse comprehension [2-7]. The results suggest that when features maximally overlap, the subject NP may be momentarily considered as an anaphor for the more distinctive (i.e., first-mentioned and semantically richer) object NP. Alternatively, the P600 may reflect increased discourse complexity stemming from similar NPs [10]. Our results imply a central role for interference during comprehension, even of simple grammatical sentences. References: [1] Lewis, Vasishth, Van Dyke, 2006; [2] McElree, Foraker, & Dyer, 2003; [3] Gerrig & O’Brien, 2005; [4] Gordon, Hendrick, & Johnson, 2004; [5] McKoon & Ratcliff, 1998; [6] Van Dyke & McElree, 2006; [7] Gordon, Hendrick, Johnson, & Lee, 2006; [8] Wager & Phillips, 2013; [9] Osterhout & Holcomb, 1992; [10] Kaan & Swaab, 2003
  • Martin, A. E., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2014). Similarity-based interference during comprehension of noun phrases: Evidence from ERPs. Poster presented at the 20th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLAP 2014), Edinburgh, UK.
  • Martin, A. E., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2014). Similarity-based interference during comprehension of noun phrases: evidence from ERPs. Poster presented at the 6th Annual Society for the Neurobiology of Language Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    Abstract

    Current accounts of sentence comprehension invoke the notion of retrieval interference as a primary determinant of difficulty during processing [1-2]. Specifically, similarity between constituents (e.g., NP feature-overlap) has been argued to interfere when people resolve subject-verb or anaphoric dependencies [3-7]. We ask whether similarity-based interference effects arise as a function of multiple NPs in the discourse that overlap in gender and/or number. We take a novel approach by examining interference effects at the second NP rather than downstream after “maintaining” multiple NPs [6-8], using ERPs to establish quantitative and qualitative processing consequences. We used the empty category PRO to introduce two NPs, only the second NP could be PRO controller (e.g., “While [PRO] talking to the waitresses, the man/men/woman/women inspected the menu”). If feature overlap affects processing of the second NP, most interference should occur under gender- and number-matching NPs. Because this interference crosses the subject-object distinction, we predicted that interference would elicit a P600 effect, the effect most reliably associated with syntactic processing difficulties [9]. Methods: During EEG recording, 24 participants read 160 grammatical sentences (40 per condition) in a 2(gender: match, mismatch) x 2(number: match, mismatch) factorial design where the first clause introduced the object-NP and had PRO as subject, and the matrix clause introduced the controller of PRO. Subject and object NPs could overlap in gender and/or number. We fully counterbalanced 160 male/female singular/plural gender-definitional nouns as object NPs, and as critical NP always ‘woman/man/girl/boy’ (or plural form). Sentences were mixed with 156 fillers and presented word by word (300 ms duration, 200 ms blank), followed by intermittent comprehension questions (85% response accuracy). Results: Across all electrodes, a significant gender by number interaction was observed (500-800 ms window [9]; F(1,23)=6.02, p<.05), due to a robust P600 effect of number-mismatch in the gender-match conditions (M=-1.18, F(1,23)=8.04, p=.01), that did not occur in the gender-mismatch conditions (M=-.17, F(1,23)=.18, ns). No distributional effects were observed. Conclusions: The P600 effect for double-match NPs suggests that interference was driven by similarity contingent upon matching gender and number. Our results testify to the strength of gender-cues during incremental processing, consistent with memory-based accounts of discourse comprehension [2-7]. The results suggest that when features maximally overlap, the subject NP may be momentarily considered as an anaphor for the more distinctive (i.e., first-mentioned and semantically richer) object NP. Alternatively, the P600 may reflect increased discourse complexity stemming from similar NPs [10]. Our results imply a central role for interference during comprehension, even of simple grammatical sentences. References: [1] Lewis, Vasishth, Van Dyke, 2006; [2] McElree, Foraker, & Dyer, 2003; [3] Gerrig & O’Brien, 2005; [4] Gordon, Hendrick, & Johnson, 2004; [5] McKoon & Ratcliff, 1998; [6] Van Dyke & McElree, 2006; [7] Gordon, Hendrick, Johnson, & Lee, 2006; [8] Wager & Phillips, 2013; [9] Osterhout & Holcomb, 1992; [10] Kaan & Swaab, 2003
  • Martin, A. E., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2014). Similarity-based interference during comprehension of noun phrases: Evidence from ERPs. Talk presented at the 20th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLAP 2014). Edinburgh, Scotland. 2014-09-03 - 2014-09-06.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Cunnings, I., & Martin, A. E. (2014). Retrieval interference during comprehension of grammatical subject-verb agreement: Evidence from ERPs. Poster presented at the 20th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLAP 2014), Edinburgh, UK.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Cunnings, I., Martin, A. E., & Sturt, P. (2014). Retrieval interference during comprehension of grammatical subject-verb agreement: Evidence from ERPs. Poster presented at the 6th Annual Society for the Neurobiology of Language Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    Abstract

    Research on subject-verb agreement during comprehension suggests a ‘grammaticality asymmetry’ in similarity-based retrieval interference. Whereas processing costs incurred by ungrammatical subject- verb agreement are reduced in the presence of a grammatically illicit attractor noun that matches the verb in number, attractor nouns have not been found to affect the processing of grammatical sentences [1]. However, most existing studies have only included singular verbs in the grammatical conditions, and the lack of retrieval interference in such cases could be a result of the fact that singular is an unmarked feature [2]. In the current study, we tested for similarity-based interference for both singular and plural verbs in fully grammatical sentences. If plural is a marked feature, we expect to find evidence of retrieval interference for plural verbs but not singular verbs when multiple items in memory match the number of the verb. We predicted that retrieval interference would elicit a P600 effect [3-4], the effect commonly associated with syntactic processing difficulties. Methods: Participants read 120 grammatical sentences (30 per condition) belonging to a 2(subject noun: plural, singular) x 2(attractor noun: plural, singular) factorial design in which the critical verb (have/had/were/was) always agreed in number with the subject noun. PS: “The keys to the cabinet were getting very rusty”, PP: “The keys to the cabinets were getting very rusty”, SS: “The key to the cabinet was getting very rusty”, SP: “The key to the cabinets was getting very rusty”. Sentences were mixed with 280 fillers and presented word by word (300 ms duration, 200 ms blank). Intermittent yes/no comprehension questions were answered with 92% accuracy. EEG data was recorded from sixty-four channels and segmented into epochs from 200 ms before to 1000 ms verb onset. Data was baselined to 0-200 ms post-stimulus to eliminate spurious effects from pre-critical word differences (see also [3-4]). Results: Using average amplitude per condition across 16 centrally distributed EEG electrodes, repeated measures ANOVAs in the 500-700 ms time window showed an effect of attractor that was reliably different for plural and singular verbs (F(1,35)=4.8, p<.05), with a robust P600 effect elicited by plural verbs (PP minus PS voltage difference, M=.64, F(1,35) = 5.7, p < .05) but none for singular verbs (SS minus SP, M= -.22, F(1,35)=.44, ns). Conclusions: The observed P600 effect for grammatically correct, plural verbs in context of a plural attractor noun suggests that retrieval interference arises as a by-product of grammatical processing, and constitutes evidence against a grammaticality asymmetry in interference effects. References: [1] Wagers, M. W., Lau, E. F., & Phillips, C. (2009). Journal of Memory and Language [2] Bock, K., & Eberhard, K. M. (1993). Language and Cognitive Processes [3] Kaan, E. (2002). Journal of Psycholinguistic Research [4] Tanner, D., Nicol, J., Herschensohn, J., & Osterhout, L. (2012). Proceedings of the 36th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 594-606).
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Cunnings, I., & Martin, A. E. (2014). Retrieval interference during comprehension of grammatical subject-verb agreement: Evidence from ERPs. Poster presented at the 6th conference of the Society of the Neurobiology of Language, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Cunnings, I., Martin, A. E., & Stuart, P. (2014). Retrieval interference during comprehension of grammatical subject-verb agreement: Evidence from ERPs. Poster presented at the 20th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLAP 2014), Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2014). The truth before and after: Temporal connectives modulate online sensitivity to truth-value. Poster presented at the 6th conference of the Society of the Neurobiology of Language, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2014). The truth before and after: Temporal connectives modulate online sensitivity to truth-value. Poster presented at the 20th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLAP 2014), Edinburgh, UK.
  • Vega-Mendoza, M., Pickering, M., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2014). Effects of animacy and semantic relatedness in native and non-native sentence processing: An ERP study. Poster presented at the 20th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLAP 2014), Edinburgh, UK.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2013). "He is whoever you want him to be": Electrophysiology reveals sustained frontal negativities for adding discourse referents. Poster presented at the 19th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLAP 2013), Marseille, France.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Carreiras, M. (2013). How about another? ERP evidence for cue-based retrieval interference during ellipsis. Poster presented at the 19th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLAP 2013), Marseille, France.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2013). Processing sentence truth-value. Talk presented at the University of Stirling. Scotland, UK. 2013.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2013). Processing sentence truth-value. Talk presented at the UCL Linguistics. London, UK. 2013.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2013). Processing sentence truth-value. Talk presented at the University of Salzburg. Austria. 2013.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2013). Who’s he? ERPs and unbound pronouns. Talk presented at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität. Mainz, Germany. 2013.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2012). Processing case and animacy. Talk presented at the Cologne University. Cologne, Germany. 2012.
  • Martin, A. E., Nieuwland, M. S., & Carreiras, M. (2011). Event-related brain potentials index cue-based retrieval interference during sentence comprehension. Talk presented at the 17th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP 2011). Paris, France. 2011-09-01 - 2011-09-03.
  • Martin, A. E., Nieuwland, M. S., & Carreiras, M. (2011). Event-related brain potentials index cue-diagnosticity during sentence comprehension. Talk presented at the 24th CUNY Human Sentence Processing Conference (CUNY 2011). Palo Alto, CA, USA. 2011-03-24 - 2011-03-26.
  • Martin, A. E., Nieuwland, M. S., & Carreiras, M. (2011). Event-related brain potentials index cue-diagnosticity during sentence comprehension. Talk presented at the 18th Annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS 2011). San Francisco, CA, USA. 2011-04-02 - 2011-04-05.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Martin, A. E., & Carreiras, M. (2011). An event-related FMRI study on case and number agreement processing in native and proficient nonnative speakers of Basque. Talk presented at the 18th Annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS 2011). San Francisco, CA, USA. 2011-04-02 - 2011-04-05.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2013). Establishing propositional truth-value in counterfactual and real-world contexts during sentence comprehension: Differential sensitivity of the left and right inferior frontal gyri. Poster presented at the 17th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLAP 2011), Paris, France.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Martin, A. E. (2013). If the real world were irrelevant, so to speak: An event-related potential study on counterfactual comprehension. Poster presented at the 17th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing Conference (AMLAP 2011), Paris, France.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Martin, A. E. (2011). If the real world were irrelevant, so to speak: An event-related potential study on counterfactual comprehension. Talk presented at the 17th Meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP). Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain. 2011-09-29 - 2011-10-02.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Martin, A. E. (2011). If the real world were irrelevant, so to speak: An event-related potential study on counterfactual comprehension. Talk presented at the 24th CUNY Human Sentence Processing Conference (CUNY 2011). Stanford, CA, USA. 2011-03-24 - 2011-03-26.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2011). Putting language in context. Talk presented at the department of psychology, university of Edinburgh. Edinburgh, Scotland. 2011.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Martin, A. E., & Carreiras, M. (2010). An event-related FMRI study on case and number agreement processing in native and proficient nonnative speakers of Basque. Poster presented at the Workshop on Neurobilingualism, Donostia, Spain.

    Abstract

    Differences in native and nonnative sentence processing may surface most clearly around parameters that are not shared between L1 and L2. We investigated whether differences between Spanish-Basque bilinguals exist in processing related to the particular constraints of the ergative-absolutive case system of Basque, which is not present in Spanish, but not in processing related to number agreement which occurs in both languages. In an event-related FMRI experiment, we tested this hypothesis by examining the cortical networks recruited for reading in Spanish-Basque bilinguals. Highly proficient nonnative and native speakers of Basque read sentences containing violations of ergative case assignment or violations of number agreement as well as correct sentences (e.g., “Gizonak lehiatilan jaso ditu sarrerek/sarrera/sarrerak goizean”, respectively, approximate translation: “The man at the box office has received the tickets-erg/ticket/tickets in the morning”) while performing an acceptability judgment task. Preliminary results (6 nonnative and 16 native speakers) showed that ergative case violations and number violations similarly elicited activation increases compared to correct sentences in the right inferior parietal lobule and the precuneus while number violations elicited additional activation increases in middle and inferior frontal cortex, consistent with reports for morphosyntactic agreement errors. Compared to native speakers, nonnative speakers engaged the medial prefrontal cortex more strongly while processing ergative case violations and number violations, suggesting that they engaged additional cognitive resources to arrive at the same behavioral outcome. These latter effects, however, did not seem to differ between the ergative case and number violations. Thus, our preliminary results support the hypothesis that while morphosyntactic processing is quantitatively different in the two groups, native and nonnative speakers do not show qualitatively different responses when processing morphosyntactic features that are specific of the L2.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2010). The online computation of relevance: Insights from electrophysiology. Talk presented at the Johannes Gutenberg-University. Mainz, Germany. 2010.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2010). The role of informativeness and real-world knowledge in language comprehension: A cognitive neuroscience perspective. Talk presented at the Institute for logic, language and information, university of the Basque country. Donostia, Spain. 2010.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2009). Some people have…? ERP correlates of pragmatic processing. Talk presented at the Department of Psychology, University of Glasgow. Glasgow, Scotland. 2009.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2009). Understanding language in context: Evidence from ERPs and fMRI. Talk presented at the Department of Psychology, University of Toronto. Scarborough, Canada. 2009.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2009). Understanding language in context: Evidence from ERPs and fMRI. Talk presented at the Department of Psychology, University of Aberdeen. Aberdeen, Scotland. 2009.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2009). Trivially true: pragmatic aspects of language comprehension. Talk presented at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. Nijmegen, the Netherlands. 2009.
  • Nieuwland, M. S. (2009). Trivially true: pragmatic aspects of language comprehension. Talk presented at the Department of Experimental Psychology, Gent University. Gent, Belgium. 2009.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Kuperberg, G. (2008). When the truth is not too hard to handle: An ERP study on the Pragmatics of Negation. Poster presented at the 21st Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Petersson, K. M., & Van Berkum, J. J. A. (2007). On sense and reference: Examining the functional neuroanatomy of referential processing. Poster presented at the 14th Annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS 2007), New York, USA.

    Abstract

    In an event-related fMRI study, we investigated to what extent semantic and referential aspects of language comprehension recruit common or dis- tinct neural ensembles. We compared BOLD responses to sentences containing semantically anomalous or coherent words, and to sentences containing referentially ambiguous pronouns (e.g., “Ronald told Frank that he...”), referentially failing pronouns (e.g., “Rose told Emily that he...”) or coherent pronouns. Semantic anomaly elicited activation increases in lateral prefrontal brain regions associated with semantic pro- cessing. Referential failure elicited activation increases in brain regions associated with morphosyntactic processing, and additional activations associated with elaborative inferenc ing if readers took failing pronouns to refer to unmentioned entities. Referential ambiguity selectively recruited medial prefrontal regions, suggesting that readers engaged in problem-solving to select a unique referent from the discourse model. Furthermore, our results showed that semantic anomaly and referential ambiguity recruit overlapping neural ensembles in opposite directions, possibly reflecting the dynamic re cruitment of semantic and episodic processing to resolve semantically or referentially problematic situations. These findings suggest that neurocogni tive accounts of language compre- hension will have to address not just how we parse a sentence and com- bine individual word meanings, bu t also how we determine who’s who and what’s what during sentence and discourse comprehension
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Otten, M., & van Berkum, J. J. (2007). Who are you talking about? Tracking discourse-level referential processing with ERPs. Poster presented at the Brain Mechanisms and Cognitive Processes in the Comprehension of Discourse, Leiden, the Netherlands.

    Abstract

    In this event-related brain potentials (E RP) study, we explored the possibility to selectively track referential ambiguity during spoken discourse comprehension. Earlier ERP research has shown that referentially am biguous nouns (e.g., “the girl” in a two-girl context) elicit a frontal, sustained negative sh ift relative to unambiguous control words. In the current study, we examined whether this ERP effect reflec ts ‘deep’ situation model ambiguity or ‘superficial’ textbase am biguity. We contrast ed these different interpretations by investigating whether a discourse-level semantic manipulation that prevents referential ambiguity also averts t he elicitation of a referentially induced ERP effect. We compared ERPs el icited by nouns that were re ferentially non-ambiguous but were associated with two discourse entities (e .g., “the girl” with two girls introduced in the context, but one of which has died or le ft the scene), with referentially ambiguous and non-ambiguous control words. While temporally referentially ambiguous nouns elicited a frontal negative shift compared to control words, the ‘double bo und’ but referentially non-ambiguous nouns did not. These results suggest that it is possible to selectively track referential ambiguity with ERPs at the level that is most relev ant to discourse comprehension, the situation model
  • Van Berkum, J. J. A., Holleman, B. C., Murre, J. M. C., Nieuwland, M. S., & Otten, M. (2007). So how do you feel about this? An ERP study on opinion poll comprehension. Poster presented at Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS-2007), New York.
  • Van Berkum, J. J. A., Holleman, B., Murre, J., & Nieuwland, M. S. (2006). Studying question answering with brain potentials. Talk presented at International conference on Discourse, Cognition and Communication. Utrecht. 2006-11-09 - 2006-11-10.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Van Berkum, J. J. A. (2005). Testing the limits of the semantic illusion phenomenon: ERPs reveal temporary change deafness in discourse comprehension. Poster presented at the 18th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Tucson, AZ, USA.

    Abstract

    In general, language comprehension is surprisingly reliable. Listeners very rapidly extract meaning from the unfolding speech signal, on a word-by-word basis, and usually successfully. Research on ‘semantic illusions’ however suggests that under certain conditions, people fail to notice that the linguistic input simply doesn’t make sense. In the current event-related brain potentials (ERP) study we examined whether listeners would spontaneously detect an anomaly in which a human character central to the story at hand (e.g. “a tourist”) was suddenly replaced by an inanimate object (e.g. “a suitcase”). Because this replacement introduced a very powerful coherence break, we expected listeners to immediately notice the anomaly and generate the standard ERP effect associated with incoherent language, the N400 effect. However, instead of the standard N400 effect, anomalous words elicited a differential ERP effect from about 500-700 ms onwards. The absence of an N400 effect indicates that subjects did not immediately notice the anomaly, and that for a few hundred milliseconds the comprehension system has converged on an apparently coherent but factually incorrect interpretation. The presence of the later ERP effect indicates that subjects were processing for comprehension and did ultimately detect the anomaly. Therefore, we take our results to reflect a temporary semantic illusion. Our results also show that even attentive listeners sometimes fail to notice a radical change in the nature of a story character, and therefore demonstrate a case of short-lived ‘change deafness’ in language comprehension.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & van Berkum, J. (2005). Testing the limits of the semantic illusion phenomenon: ERPs reveal temporary change deafness in discourse comprehension. Talk presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Text & Discourse. Amsterdam, the Netherlands. 2005-07-06 - 2005-07-09.

    Abstract

    n two ERP-experiments we examined whether discourse context could overrule a local semantic violation. In both experiments, subjects listened to stories in which a person was engaged in conversation with an inanimate object. In experiment 1, story-initial animacy violations reflected in an N400 effect were completely neutralized further down the story. In experiment 2, canonical but story-irrelevant inanimate predicates assigned to the inanimate object elicited an N400 effect, compared to contextually appropriate animate predicates.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Van Berkum, J. J. A. (2005). When peanuts fall in love: N400 evidence for the power of discourse. Poster presented at the 18th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Tucson, AZ, USA.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., Otten, M., & van Berkum, J. J. (2005). Who are you talking about? Tracking discourse-level referential processing with ERPs. Poster presented at the International Conference Cognitive Neuroscience, Havana, Cuba.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Van Berkum, J. J. A. (2004). Discourse context can completely overrule lexical-semantic violations: Evidence from the N400. Poster presented at the Society for Text & Discourse (STD), Chicago, IL, USA.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Van Berkum, J. J. A. (2004). Discourse context can completely overrule lexical-semantic violations: Evidence from the N400. Poster presented at the 11th Annual Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting (SNS 2004), San Fransisco, USA.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Van Berkum, J. J. A. (2004). Testing the limits of the semantic illusion phenomenon: ERPs reveal temporary change deafness in discourse comprehension. Poster presented at the Endo-Neuro-Psycho Meeting, Doorwerth, the Netherlands.
  • Nieuwland, M. S., & Van Berkum, J. J. A. (2004). Testing the limits of the semantic illusion phenomenon: ERPs reveal temporary change deafness in discourse comprehension. Poster presented at the NWO Cognition Summer School, Doorwerth, the Netherlands.

Share this page