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

Justus, Timothy and Larsen, Jary and De Mornay Davies, Paul and Swick, Diane (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. ISSN 1531-135X

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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.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Language, Learning and Cognition group
ISI Impact: 4
Item ID: 2954
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Devika Mohan
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2009 05:13
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:15
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/2954

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