Lingering expectations: A pseudo-repetition effect for words previously
expected but not presented
Rommers, J., & Federmeier, K. D.
Lingering expectations: A pseudo-repetition effect for words previously expected but not presented. NeuroImage, 183
, 263-272. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.08.023.
Prediction can help support rapid language processing. However, it is unclear whether prediction has downstream
consequences, beyond processing in the moment. In particular, when a prediction is disconfirmed, does it linger,
or is it suppressed? This study manipulated whether words were actually seen or were only expected, and probed
their fate in memory by presenting the words (again) a few sentences later. If disconfirmed predictions linger,
subsequent processing of the previously expected (but never presented) word should be similar to actual word
repetition. At initial presentation, electrophysiological signatures of prediction disconfirmation demonstrated that
participants had formed expectations. Further downstream, relative to unseen words, repeated words elicited a
strong N400 decrease, an enhanced late positive complex (LPC), and late alpha band power decreases. Critically,
like repeated words, words previously expected but not presented also attenuated the N400. This “pseudorepetition
effect” suggests that disconfirmed predictions can linger at some stages of processing, and demonstrates
that prediction has downstream consequences beyond rapid on-line processing