The time course of contextual cohort effects in auditory processing of category-ambiguous words: MEG evidence for a single “clash” as noun or verb

Phoebe Gaston, Alec Marantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The size and probability distribution of a word-form’s cohort of lexical competitors influence auditory processing and can be constrained by syntactic category information. This experiment employs noun/verb homonyms (e.g. “ache”) presented in syntactic context to clarify the mechanisms and representations involved in context-based cohort restriction. Implications for theories positing single versus multiple word-forms in cases of category ambiguity also arise. Using correlations between neural activity in auditory cortex, measured by magnetoencephalography (MEG), and standard and context-dependent cohort entropy and phoneme surprisal variables, we consider the possibility of cohort restriction on the basis of form or on the basis of category usage. Crucially, the form-conditional measure is consistent only with a single word-form view of category ambiguity. Our results show that noun/verb homonyms are derived from single category-neutral word-forms and that the cohort is restricted incrementally in context, by form and then by usage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-423
Number of pages22
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 21 2018

Keywords

  • Auditory cohort
  • entropy
  • surprisal
  • syntactic category
  • word recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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