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LINGUIST List 22.2716

Thu Jun 30 2011

Diss: Neuroling: Abada: 'Electrophysiological Investigations of Age...'

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        1.     Shani Abada , Electrophysiological Investigations of Age Differences in Phrasal Interpretation: The time course of cross-modal interactions

Message 1: Electrophysiological Investigations of Age Differences in Phrasal Interpretation: The time course of cross-modal interactions
Date: 30-Jun-2011
From: Shani Abada <shani.abadamail.mcgill.ca>
Subject: Electrophysiological Investigations of Age Differences in Phrasal Interpretation: The time course of cross-modal interactions
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Institution: McGill University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Shani H Abada

Dissertation Title: Electrophysiological Investigations of Age Differences in
Phrasal Interpretation: The time course of cross-modal
interactions

Dissertation URL:
http://digitool.Library.McGill.CA:80/R/-?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=9688

Linguistic Field(s): Neurolinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)


Dissertation Director(s):
Karsten Steinhauer
Shari R. Baum

Dissertation Abstract:

The current research examines the neural correlates of younger and older adults'
processing of prosodic cues as they relate to phrase groupings and the influence
of visual context on prosodic perception. Studies investigating linguistic
prosodic perception in older adults show that these individuals remain sensitive
to prosody, but allude to subtle processing differences. The use of
event-related brain potentials (ERPs) is a particularly useful means of
investigating prosodic processing because ERPs permit an analysis of prosodic
processing in real time.

Here, ERPs were recorded from younger (ages 18 to 25 years; n = 20) and older
(ages 65 to 80 years; n = 11) subjects were presented with phrases such as 'bag
and bed and cup', with pauses inserted so as to create a phrasal grouping with
an early boundary ('bag # and bed and cup') or a late boundary ('bag and bed #
and cup'). Visual displays of the items were presented simultaneous with the
onset of the auditory phrases. These pictures corresponded to the phrases
(match), differed in the phrase grouping depicted (prosodic mismatch), differed
by the center item (semantic mismatch), or differed in both phrase grouping and
the second item (double mismatch). Participants were asked to determine whether
the auditory and visual stimuli matched.

We found that older and younger participants were able to successfully integrate
auditory and visual prosodic and semantic information. Both age groups showed
increased difficulty detecting prosodic mismatches, though this was particularly
difficult for older adults. Prosodic and semantic mismatches were reflected in
N400 and P600 electrophysiological responses, providing important insight into
the interpretation of these components. Interestingly, many young adults and all
older adults displayed a specific pattern of eye movement which also influenced
neural responses. Together, the ERP, eye movement and behavioral findings
suggest that older and younger adults display similar sensitivity to prosody in
early processing stages but may differ in performance at later stages of
integration.

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