Reanalyzing language expectations: Native language knowledge modulates the sensitivity to intervening cues during anticipatory processing
MetadataShow full item record
Giannelli F, Molinaro N. Reanalyzing language expectations: Native language knowledge modulates the sensitivity to intervening cues during anticipatory processing. Psychophysiology. 2018;55:e13196. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13196
We investigated how native language experience shapes anticipatory language processing. Two groups of bilinguals (either Spanish or Basque natives) performed a word matching task (WordMT) and a picture matching task (PictureMT). They indicated whether the stimuli they visually perceived matched with the noun they heard. Spanish noun endings were either diagnostic of the gender (transparent) or ambiguous (opaque). ERPs were time-locked to an intervening gender-marked determiner preceding the predicted noun. The determiner always gender agreed with the following noun but could also introduce a mismatching noun, so that it was not fully task diagnostic. Evoked brain activity time-locked to the determiner was considered as reflecting updating/reanalysis of the task-relevant preactivated representation. We focused on the timing of this effect by estimating the comparison between a gender-congruent and a gender-incongruent determiner. In the WordMT, both groups showed a late N400 effect. Crucially, only Basque natives displayed an earlier P200 effect for determiners preceding transparent nouns. In the PictureMT, both groups showed an early P200 effect for determiners preceding opaque nouns. The determiners of transparent nouns triggered a negative effect at similar to 430 ms in Spanish natives, but at similar to 550 ms in Basque natives. This pattern of results supports a "retracing hypothesis" according to which the neurocognitive system navigates through the intermediate (sublexical and lexical) linguistic representations available from previous processing to evaluate the need of an update in the linguistic expectation concerning a target lexical item.