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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
June 28, 2016

Canadian Excellence


Laurier Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience

Verb Aspect, Event Structure, and Coreferential Processing

Journal of Memory and Language, 61, 191-205.
Ferretti, T. R., Rohde, H., Kehler, A., & Crutchley, M

published: 2009 | Research publication | Language and Cognition Lab

We used an off-line story continuation task and an online ERP reading task to investigatecoreferential processing following sentences that portrayed transfer-of-possession eventsas either ongoing or completed, using imperfective and perfective verb aspect (e.g.,Amanda was shifting/shifted some poker chips to Scott). The story continuation task demonstratedthat people were more likely to begin continuations with references to the Goalthan to the Source, but that perfective aspect strengthened this bias. In the ERP task weprobed expectations for Source and Goal referents by employing pronouns that matchedone of the referents in gender. The ERP results were consistent with the biases revealedin the story continuation task and demonstrate that the difference in Goal bias for thetwo forms of aspect was manifested differently in the brain. These results provide novelbehavioral and neurocognitive evidence that verb aspect influences the construction of situationmodels during language comprehension.

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revised Sep 10/09

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