Processing sentences with sentential and prefixal negation: An event-related potential study

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This study is concerned with the integration of negation in relation to two models of the processing of negation: (i) the two-step model (Lüdtke et al., 2008), according to which negation involves two representations where negation is ignored in the first representation, and (ii) the pragmatic view (Nieuwland & Kuperberg, 2008), which posits that negation can be integrated without delay if it is used in a natural context. The processing of two negated forms (not authorised and unauthorised) and an affirmative form (authorised) was studied in complex congruent and incongruent contexts. Incongruities in affirmative sentences elicited a biphasic N400–P600. In both types of negated sentences, ERP patterns associated with higher processing difficulties (anterior and central negativities) were observed. The results did not support one or the other model, suggesting that the processing of negation cannot be fully captured by either of them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-98
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics

Free keywords

  • Negated meanings
  • ERP
  • Sentential integration
  • Processing cost
  • Opposition
  • Bounded adjectives


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