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LINGUIST List 18.3060

Fri Oct 19 2007

Diss: Cog Sci/Neuroling: Schmidt-Kassow: 'What's Beat Got To Do Wit...'

Editor for this issue: Luiza Newlin Lukowicz <luizalinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Maren Schmidt-Kassow, What's Beat Got To Do With It?The Influence of Meter on Syntactic Processing: ERP evidence from healthy and patient populations


Message 1: What's Beat Got To Do With It?The Influence of Meter on Syntactic Processing: ERP evidence from healthy and patient populations
Date: 19-Oct-2007
From: Maren Schmidt-Kassow <kassowcbs.mpg.de>
Subject: What's Beat Got To Do With It?The Influence of Meter on Syntactic Processing: ERP evidence from healthy and patient populations
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Institution: Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Program: Department of Neuropsychology
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Maren Schmidt-Kassow

Dissertation Title: What's Beat Got To Do With It?The Influence of Meter on
Syntactic Processing: ERP evidence from healthy and patient
populations

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
Neurolinguistics

Dissertation Director(s):
Angela D. Friederici
Sonja A. Kotz

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis aimed to investigate whether metric structures of a given
language influence auditory syntactic processing in healthy as well as
patient populations by the means of five ERP-studies. Based on the
observation that a syntactic perception deficit in patients with basal
ganglia lesions (BG-patients) can be compensated by an externally given
meter, I hypothesized that the processing of metric structures goes hand in
hand with the processing of syntactic structures. As both, meter and syntax
are rule-based systems that help to structure an incoming sequence and let
one make predictions about when and what kind of element comes next they
might interact during auditory language processing. Two types of metric
structures and their influence on syntactic processing were tested, namely
external and speech internal metric cues. External metric cues were
realized by inserting silent intervals into the speech signal, speech
inherent metric cues were realized by keeping the meter of the stimuli
constant (that is the temporal order of stressed and unstressed syllables).

Firstly, the results demonstrated that external metric cues entrain
syntactic processing in healthy participants, i.e. the processing speed is
adapted to the externally given meter. This affects the process underlying
the P600, a syntactically evoked ERP-component.

Secondly, data could show that the processing of speech inherent metric
cues interacts with the processing of syntactic cues in the process
underlying the P600. However, at an early stage of language processing
metric errors are processed prior to syntactic errors resulting in an early
negativity.

Thirdly, data from the current thesis provide evidence that BG-patients do
not only profit from externally given metric cues as has been shown in
previous studies but also from metric cues inherent to speech. This results
in a syntactically evoked P600 that has been missing in earlier studies
with BG-patients. Thus, the present results argue for the possibility that
speech inherent metric patterns compensate syntactic deficits.

In sum, the current thesis demonstrates that the competence to detect
metric structures in speech is highly relevant. Additionally, the function
of the P600 could be extended by adding another influencing factor, namely
metric processing.


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