Early event-related brain potentials and hemispheric asymmetries reveal mind-wandering while reading and predict comprehension.
Since the publication of the first papers on event-related brain potentials (ERP) and language in the 1980s, the field of electrophysiology of language has evolved a great deal. This article is a brief overview of ERPs and languageprocessing research. It discusses how ERPs are derived, provides the pros and cons of using ERPs for language-processing research, and gives a summary of the major ERP components relevant to research on speech perception (mismatch negativity), word and sentence comprehension (N400, left anterior negativity, P600), and word production (lateralized readiness potential, N200). Additionally, it addresses current controversies concerning the interpretation of these components. Applications of the ERP technique are illustrated with research on first and second language acquisition, bilingualism, and aphasia.