Interpreting dissociations between regular and irregular past-tense morphology: evidence from event-related potentials

Article


Justus, T., Larsen, J., De Mornay Davies, P. and Swick, D. 2008. Interpreting dissociations between regular and irregular past-tense morphology: evidence from event-related potentials. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience. 8 (2), pp. 178-194. https://doi.org/10.3758/CABN.8.2.178
TypeArticle
TitleInterpreting dissociations between regular and irregular past-tense morphology: evidence from event-related potentials
AuthorsJustus, T., Larsen, J., De Mornay Davies, P. and Swick, D.
Abstract

Neuropsychological dissociations between regular and irregular English past-tense morphology have been reported using a lexical decision task in which past-tense primes immediately precede present-tense targets. We present N400 event-related potential data from healthy participants using the same design. Both regular and irregular past-tense forms primed corresponding present-tense forms, but with a longer duration for irregular verbs. Phonological control conditions suggested that differences in formal overlap between prime and target contribute to, but do not account for, this difference, suggesting a link between irregular morphology and semantics. Further analysis dividing the irregular verbs into two categories (weak irregular and strong) revealed that priming for strong verbs was reliably stronger than that for weak irregular and regular verbs, which were statistically indistinguishable from one another. We argue that, although we observe a regular-irregular dissociation, the nature of this dissociation is more consistent with single- than with dual-system models of inflectional morphology.

Research GroupLanguage, Learning and Cognition group
LanguageEnglish
PublisherThe Psychonomic Society
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
ISSN1531-135X
Publication dates
PrintJun 2008
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Nov 2009
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3758/CABN.8.2.178
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