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Phd ceremony H. Brouwer: The electrophysiology of language comprehension. A neurocomputational model

When:Th 26-06-2014 17:00 - 18:00

One decade ago, researchers using event-related brain potential (ERP)measurements stumbled upon what looked like a Semantic Illusion in languagecomprehension: Semantically anomalous, but otherwise well-formed sentencesdid not affect the meaning-related N400 component, but instead increased theamplitude of the structure-related P600 component. This finding spawned fivenew models of language comprehension, all of which claim that instead ofa single comprehension process, there are two or even more separateprocessing streams, one of which is not driven by structure, but by wordmeaning alone. In this thesis, I argue that there is a much simpler way toaccount for these data, and present evidence from neurocomputionalsimulations showing that this alternative explanation is able to predict allrelevant ERP patterns found in the literature.

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