The time-course of feature interference in agreement comprehension: Multiple mechanisms and asymmetrical attraction

Darren Tanner, Janet Nicol, Laurel Brehm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Attraction interference in language comprehension and production may be as a result of common or different processes. In the present paper, we investigate attraction interference during language comprehension, focusing on the contexts in which interference arises and the time-course of these effects. Using evidence from event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and sentence judgment times, we show that agreement attraction in comprehension is best explained as morphosyntactic interference during memory retrieval. This stands in contrast to attraction as involving the representation of the subject NP's root-node number feature, which is a strong contributor to attraction in production. We thus argue that the cognitive antecedents of agreement attraction in comprehension are non-identical with those of attraction in production, and moreover, that attraction in comprehension is primarily a consequence of similarity-based interference in cue-based memory retrieval processes. We suggest that mechanisms responsible for attraction during language comprehension are a subset of those involved in language production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-215
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Volume76
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2014

Keywords

  • Agreement
  • Language comprehension
  • Morphosyntactic processing
  • P600
  • Retrieval interference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

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