The effects of attention and task-relevance on the processing of syntactic violations during listening to two concurrent speech streams

Szalárdy, Orsolya and Tóth, Brigitta and Farkas, Dávid and Kovács, Annamária and Urbán, Gábor and Orosz, Gábor and Szabó, Beáta Tünde and Hunyadi, László and Hajdu, Botond and Winkler, István (2017) The effects of attention and task-relevance on the processing of syntactic violations during listening to two concurrent speech streams. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience. ISSN 1530-7026 (In Press)

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The notion of automatic syntactical analysis received support from some event-related potential (ERP) studies. However, none of these studies tested syntax processing in the presence of a concurrent speech stream. Here we presented two concurrent continuous speech streams, manipulating two variables potentially affecting speech processing in a fully crossed design: attention (focused vs. divided) and task (lexical – detecting numerals vs. syntactical – detecting syntactic violations). ERPs elicited by syntactic violations and numerals as targets were compared with those for distractors (task-relevant events in the unattended speech stream) and attended and unattended task-irrelevant events. As was expected, only target numerals elicited the N2b and P3 components. The amplitudes of these components did not significantly differ between focused and divided attention. Both task-relevant and task-irrelevant syntactic violations elicited the N400 ERP component within the attended but not in the unattended speech stream. P600 was only elicited by target syntactic violations. These results provide no support for the notion of automatic syntactic analysis. Rather, it appears that task-relevance is a prerequisite of P600 elicitation, implying that in-depth syntactic analysis occurs only for attended speech under everyday listening situations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: concurrent speech streams; syntactic violation processing; lexical processing; attention; N400; P600; N2b; P3
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion / filozófia, pszichológia, vallás > BF Psychology / lélektan > BF12 Attention / figyelem
R Medicine / orvostudomány > RC Internal medicine / belgyógyászat > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry / idegkórtan, neurológia, pszichiátria
Depositing User: Dr Orsolya Szalárdy
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2018 11:41
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2018 12:13

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