Anticipating predictability: an ERP investigation of expectation-managing discourse markers in dialogue comprehension

Marlou Rasenberg, Joost Rommers, Geertje van Bergen* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In two ERP experiments, we investigated how the Dutch discourse markers eigenlijk “actually”, signalling expectation disconfirmation, and inderdaad “indeed”, signalling expectation confirmation, affect incremental dialogue comprehension. We investigated their effects on the processing of subsequent (un)predictable words, and on the quality of word representations in memory. Participants read dialogues with (un)predictable endings that followed a discourse marker (eigenlijk in Experiment 1, inderdaad in Experiment 2) or a control adverb. We found no strong evidence that discourse markers modulated online predictability effects elicited by subsequently read words. However, words following eigenlijk elicited an enhanced posterior post-N400 positivity compared with words following an adverb regardless of their predictability, potentially reflecting increased processing costs associated with pragmatically driven discourse updating. No effects of inderdaad were found on online processing, but inderdaad seemed to influence memory for (un)predictable dialogue endings. These findings nuance our understanding of how pragmatic markers affect incremental language comprehension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalLanguage cognition and neuroscience
Volume35
Issue number1
Early online date3 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Discourse processing
  • EEG
  • dialogue
  • discourse markers
  • pragmatics
  • predictability
  • N400
  • SPEECH
  • CONTEXT
  • PREDICTION
  • MEMORY
  • INTEGRATION
  • SENTENCE COMPREHENSION
  • LANGUAGE COMPREHENSION
  • BRAIN POTENTIALS
  • WORLD

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