Syntax-related ERP-effects in Dutch

Hagoort, P., Wassenaar, M., & Brown, C. M. (2003). Syntax-related ERP-effects in Dutch. Cognitive Brain Research, 16(1), 38-50. doi:10.1016/S0926-6410(02)00208-2.
In two studies subjects were required to read Dutch sentences that in some cases contained a syntactic violation, in other cases a semantic violation. All syntactic violations were word category violations. The design excluded differential contributions of expectancy to influence the syntactic violation effects. The syntactic violations elicited an Anterior Negativity between 300 and 500 ms. This negativity was bilateral and had a frontal distribution. Over posterior sites the same violations elicited a P600/SPS starting at about 600 ms. The semantic violations elicited an N400 effect. The topographic distribution of the AN was more frontal than the distribution of the classical N400 effect, indicating that the underlying generators of the AN and the N400 are, at least to a certain extent, non-overlapping. Experiment 2 partly replicated the design of Experiment 1, but with differences in rate of presentation and in the distribution of items over subjects, and without semantic violations. The word category violations resulted in the same effects as were observed in Experiment 1, showing that they were independent of some of the specific parameters of Experiment 1. The discussion presents a tentative account of the functional differences in the triggering conditions of the AN and the P600/SPS.
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