Word-stem tones cue suffixes in the brain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


High and low tones on Swedish word stems are associated with different classes of suffixes. We tested the electrophysiological effects of high and low stem tones as well as tonally cued and uncued suffixes. Two different tasks were used involving either choosing the suffix-dependent meaning of the words, or pressing a button when the word ended. To determine whether effects were in fact due to association of tones with lexical material, delexicalized stimuli were also used. High tones in lexical items produced an increase in the P2 component in both tasks, interpreted as showing passive anticipatory attention allocated to the associated upcoming suffix. This effect was absent for delexicalized forms, where instead an N1 increase was found for high tones, indicating that the high pitch was unexpected in the absence of lexical material, and did not lead to anticipatory attention. A P600 effect was found for uncued high-associated suffixes in the semantic task, which was also where the largest increase was found in reaction times. This suggests that the tonal cues were most important when participants were required to process the meaning of the words.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurosciences


  • N1, P2, Morphology, Prosody, Event-related potentials, ERP, Language
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-120
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)

Related research output

Pelle Söderström, Merle Horne & Mikael Roll, 2017 Apr, In: Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. 46, 2, p. 271-280

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View all (1)

Related projects

Frida Blomberg, Merle Horne, Mikael Roll, Pelle Söderström & Magnus Lindgren

Swedish Research Council


Project: Research

View all (2)