|Reference code: ||PT/FB/BL-2004-035.04|
|Location: ||Arquivo PCA - Pasta 24/2004|
|Pronouns and degeneration: Differences in processes and brain locations involved in pronoun interpretation in prodromal alzheimer's disease and in healthy ageing|
|Publication year: ||2010|
The present study aims at characterizing the differences between young adults and healthy elderly with respect to the Event Related Potentials (ERPs) elicited by pronoun resolution. We target differences occurring in the early stages of such processing, during which syntactic structure plays the key role in identifying the pronoun’s antecedent, as well as later stages, during which pragmatic inferences and referent integration within the discourse representation are deemed to occur. We hypothesized that, although syntactic processing is well preserved in the elderly group, the same group should show a hindered ability to process pragmatic inferences, namely inferences based upon breaches of pragmatic principles, requiring, in order to be detected, the prediction of the pronominal choice that would conform to the pragmatic principle at stake.
Participants: 20 elderly (65-80 year old), 20 young adults (20-26 years old).
Materials: Gender agreement in 48 pairs of Portuguese complex sentences was manipulated in order to cause pronoun resolution either with the c-commanding NP (1: syntactic antecedent detection; breach of Grice’s maxim of manner - an explicit pronoun occurs instead the portuguese null pronoun (pro), the most economic and common choice for this syntactic context) or with the NP in a genitive recess (2: discourse/semantic
antecedent detection; No breach of pragmatic principles), e.g. (1) [[The butler]MASC of [the countess]FEM](i)MASC quarreled with the servant to whom he(i)MASC had lent some money.
(2) [[The employee]FEM of [the butcher](i)MASC]FEM quarreled with the client to whom he(i)MASC had sold spoilt sausages.
As expected, we found in both age groups an enhanced early, frontally dominant, negativity (250-450 ms time window), indexing a greater processing effort during the first processing stage of the pronoun in type 2 sentences. Also in line with our predictions, an enhanced Late Positivity (450-600 ms time window) emerges in type (1) sentences for the young adults, indexing the additional effort required to compute the pragmatic inference conveyed by the breach of Grice’s maxim of manner. We interpret the absence of this effect in the elderly group as evidence of hindered predictive processing, which fails to provide the basis for the pragmatic inference.
|Accessibility: ||Document does not exist in file|
|Gouveia, J. P.|
|Secondary author(s): |
|Branco, A., Firmino, H., Leitão, J., Festas, M.|
|Document type: |
|Number of reproductions: |
|Gouveia, J. P., Branco, A., Firmino, H., Leitão, J., & Festas, M. (2010). Pronouns and degeneration: Differences in processes and brain locations involved in pronoun interpretation in prodromal alzheimer's disease and in healthy ageing. In Aquém e além do cérebro. Behind and beyond the brain. Proceedings of the 8th Symposium of Fundação Bial (p. 187). Porto: Fundação Bial. |
|Indexed document: ||No|
|Keywords: ||Event-related potential (ERP) / Anaphor resolution / Aging|
Pronouns and degeneration: Differences in processes and brain locations involved in pronoun interpretation in prodromal alzheimer's disease and in healthy ageing