Syntactic classification of acquired structural regularities

Forkstam, C., & Petersson, K. M. (2005). Syntactic classification of acquired structural regularities. In G. B. Bruna, & L. Barsalou (Eds.), Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 696-701).
In this paper we investigate the neural correlates of syntactic classification of an acquired grammatical sequence structure in an event-related FMRI study. During acquisition, participants were engaged in an implicit short-term memory task without performance feedback. We manipulated the statistical frequency-based and rule-based characteristics of the classification stimuli independently in order to investigate their role in artificial grammar acquisition. The participants performed reliably above chance on the classification task. We observed a partly overlapping corticostriatal processing network activated by both manipulations including inferior prefrontal, cingulate, inferior parietal regions, and the caudate nucleus. More specifically, the left inferior frontal BA 45 and the caudate nucleus were sensitive to syntactic violations and endorsement, respectively. In contrast, these structures were insensitive to the frequency-based manipulation.
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