Investigating the lexical representation of highly reduced word farms with the Mismatch Negativity

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Spoken language is challenging to comprehend, because the acoustic signal of speech can be highly variable. Research on speech perception has shown that the representation of pronunciation variants is of theoretical importance for models of speech perception. The mismatch negativity (MMN) has been used to investigate the representation of words in long-term memory. The current study aims to extend this research by investigating the representation of highly reduced pronunciation variants in the mental lexicon. Two experiments were conducted and no reliable MMN enhancement effect was found and therefore, the results do not provide evidence concerning the representation of reduced pronunciation variants. Unexpectedly, subsequent exploratory data analysis showed that a P3a response was elicited far contrasts of pseudowords with reduced farms and real words, while no such response was elicited with pseudoword - pseudoword contrasts. This finding is in line with the idea that lexically represented word farms are processed differently than farms that do not have a long-term memory representation. Further research is necessary to investigate whether the P3a is sensitive to the lexical status of spoken word farms.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen