Cue integration during sentence comprehension: Electrophysiological evidence from ellipsis
Language processing requires us to integrate incoming linguistic representations with representations of past input, often across intervening words and phrases. This computational situation has been argued to require retrieval of the appropriate representations from memory via a set of features or representations serving as retrieval cues. However, even within in a cue-based retrieval account of language comprehension, both the structure of retrieval cues and the particular computation that underlies direct-access retrieval are still underspecified. Evidence from two event-related brain potential (ERP) experiments that show cue-based interference from different types of linguistic representations during ellipsis comprehension are consistent with an architecture wherein different cue types are integrated, and where the interaction of cue with the recent contents of memory determines processing outcome, including expression of the interference effect in ERP componentry. I conclude that retrieval likely includes a computation where cues are integrated with the contents of memory via a linear weighting scheme, and I propose vector addition as a candidate formalization of this computation. I attempt to account for these effects and other related phenomena within a broader cue-based framework of language processing.
Publication typeJournal article