Lee Osterhout

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We recorded event-related brain potentials (ERPs) while participants read sentences, some of which contained an anomalous word. In the critical sentences (e.g., The meal was devouring. . .), the syntactic cues unambiguously signaled an Agent interpretation of the subject noun, whereas the semantic cues supported a Theme interpretation. An Agent(More)
Event-related potentials were recorded from 13 scalp locations while participants read sentences containing a syntactic ambiguity. In Experiment 1, syntactically disambiguating words that were inconsistent with the "favored" syntactic analysis elicited a positive-going brain potential (P600). Experiment 2 examined whether syntactic ambiguities are resolved(More)
In two experiments, event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 13 scalp locations while subjects read sentences containing a syntactically or a semantically anomalous word. The position (sentence-embedded vs sentence-final) and word class (open vs closed) of the syntactic anomalies were manipulated. In both experiments, semantically anomalous(More)
Abstract Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 13 scalp electrodes while subjects read sentences, some of which contained either a verb that disagreed in number with the subject noun (syntactic anomaly) or a word in uppercase letters (physical anomaly). Uppercase words elicited the P300 complex of positivities, whereas agreement(More)
Prior work has suggested that open- and closed-class words elicit negative components in the event-related potential (ERP) that differ in timing and scalp distribution. We tested this hypothesis against the possibility that the word-class effects are attributable to quantitative differences in word length and frequency. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs)(More)
Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded while 14 males and 14 females read sentences containing a reflexive pronoun that referred to a definitionally or stereotypically male or female antecedent noun. Pronouns that disagreed with the gender definition or gender stereotype of the antecedent elicited a large-amplitude positive wave. Violations of(More)
Adult second-language (L2) learning is often claimed to be slow and laborious compared to native language (L1) acquisition, but little is known about the rate of L2 word learning. Here we report that adult second-language learners' brain activity, as measured by event-related potentials (ERPs), discriminated between L2 words and L2 'pseudowords' (word-like(More)
The human capacity to produce and comprehend language is one of the most distinctive characteristics of our species. However, understanding the cognitive and neural underpinnings of human language has proved difficult, in part because these processes are rapid, complex and (for the most part) inaccessible to conscious reflection. Methodologies are needed(More)
Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 13 scalp electrodes while subjects listened to sentences containing syntactic ambiguities. Words that were inconsistent with the "preferred" sentence structure elicited a positive-going wave (the P600 effect), similar to that elicited by such words during reading (Osterhout & Holcomb, 1992). These(More)