World knowledge integration during second language comprehension
Martin, Clara D.
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Clara D. Martin, Xavier Garcia, Audrey Breton, Guillaume Thierry & Albert Costa (2016) World knowledge integration during second language comprehension, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31:2, 206-216, DOI: 10.1080/23273798.2015.1084012
In order to study the difficulties experienced during sentence comprehension in a foreign language (L2), we investigated semantic and world knowledge information retrieval in L2 comprehenders. Event-related potentials (ERP) were collected in late learners of English whose native language is Spanish, performing a sentence reading task in English. We investigated the mean amplitude of the P2 and N400 ERP components elicited by the critical word of sentences in three conditions: (1) correct,, (2) semantic violation, and (3) world knowledge violation (semantically acceptable but factually untrue). In the N400 window, ERP modulations elicited by semantic and world knowledge violations had similar amplitudes, as previously observed in L1 comprehenders. However, semantic violations failed to modulate P2 mean amplitude as it did in native speakers. These results suggest that, whilst L2 and L1 readers similarly integrate world knowledge and semantic information, L2 readers lack fast semantic access at around 200 ms after the onset of a critical word.