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      Is There a Processing Preference for Object Relative Clauses in Chinese? Evidence From ERPs


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          A consistent finding across head-initial languages, such as English, is that subject relative clauses (SRCs) are easier to comprehend than object relative clauses (ORCs). However, several studies in Mandarin Chinese, a head-final language, revealed the opposite pattern, which might be modulated by working memory (WM) as suggested by recent results from self-paced reading performance. In the present study, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded when participants with high and low WM spans (measured by forward digit span and operation span tests) read Chinese ORCs and SRCs. The results revealed an N400-P600 complex elicited by ORCs on the relativizer, whose magnitude was modulated by the WM span. On the other hand, a P600 effect was elicited by SRCs on the head noun, whose magnitude was not affected by the WM span. These findings paint a complex picture of relative clause processing in Chinese such that opposing factors involving structural ambiguities and integration of filler-gap dependencies influence processing dynamics in Chinese relative clauses.

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          Most cited references57

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          Reading senseless sentences: brain potentials reflect semantic incongruity.

          In a sentence reading task, words that occurred out of context were associated with specific types of event-related brain potentials. Words that were physically aberrant (larger than normal) elecited a late positive series of potentials, whereas semantically inappropriate words elicited a late negative wave (N400). The N400 wave may be an electrophysiological sign of the "reprocessing" of semantically anomalous information.
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            The syntactic positive shift (sps) as an erp measure of syntactic processing

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              An automated version of the operation span task.

              We present an easy-to-administer and automated version of a popular working memory (WM) capacity task (operation span; Ospan) that is mouse driven, scores itself, and requires little intervention on the part of the experimenter. It is shown that this version of Ospan correlates well with other measures of WM capacity and has both good internal consistency (alpha = .78) and test-retest reliability (.83). In addition, the automated version of Ospan (Aospan) was shown to load on the same factor as two other WM measures. This WM capacity factor correlated with a factor composed of fluid abilities measures. The utility of the Aospan was further demonstrated by analyzing response times (RTs) that indicated that RT measures obtained in the task accounted for additional variance in predicting fluid abilities. Our results suggest that Aospan is a reliable and valid indicator of WM capacity that can be applied to a wide array of research domains.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                09 July 2018
                : 9
                : 995
                [1] 1Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, National Central University , Taoyuan City, Taiwan
                [2] 2Department of Speech and Language Therapy, Istanbul Medipol University , Istanbul, Turkey
                [3] 3College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Taipei Medical University , Taipei, Taiwan
                Author notes

                Edited by: Karsten Steinhauer, McGill University, Canada

                Reviewed by: Harm Brouwer, Saarland University, Germany; Sendy Caffarra, Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Spain

                *Correspondence: Denise H. Wu denisewu@ 123456cc.ncu.edu.tw

                This article was submitted to Language Sciences, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2018 Bulut, Cheng, Xu, Hung and Wu.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 22 July 2017
                : 28 May 2018
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 5, Equations: 0, References: 88, Pages: 18, Words: 15220
                Funded by: National Science Council 10.13039/501100001868
                Award ID: 102-2628-H-008-002-MY3
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                relative clauses,chinese sentence comprehension,working memory,integration resources,storage resources,linear distance,structural distance,event-related potentials


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