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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
December 6, 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 events as 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 demonstrated that people were more likely to begin continuations with references to the Goal than to the Source, but that perfective aspect strengthened this bias. In the ERP task we probed expectations for Source and Goal referents by employing pronouns that matched one of the referents in gender. The ERP results were consistent with the biases revealed in the story continuation task and demonstrate that the difference in Goal bias for the two forms of aspect was manifested differently in the brain. These results provide novel behavioral and neurocognitive evidence that verb aspect influences the construction of situation models during language comprehension.

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revised Sep 10/09

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