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Memory traces for inflectional affixes as shown by the mismatch negativity
ICON8, 8th International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience, September 9-15, 2002, Porquerolles Island, France, p 111
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Mismatch negativity (MMN), an index of experience-dependent memory traces [1,2,3], was used to investigate the processing of grammatical affixes in the human brain. The MMN was elicited either by a verb stem or by an inflected verb form, phonetic contrasts being identical in both conditions. The topography of the mismatch responses showed clear left-hemispheric laterality in both conditions. However, the MMN to the inflected form occurred later than that for the stem. Furthermore, the inflected stimulus produced MMN maximal in centro-parietal cites, whereas stem-elicited MMN was more profound at frontal lobe cites. We suggest that the prolonged latency and asymmetry of the MMN to the inflected form indicate delayed activation of left-laterilised cell assemblies that function as cortical memory traces of inflectional affixes [4]. [1] Naatanen, R. et al. Nature 385, 432-434 (1997). [2] Pulvermuller, F., Kujala, T., Shtyrov, Y. et al. NeuroImage 14, 607-616 (2001). [3] Shtyrov, Y. et al. NeuroImage 12, 657-663 (2000). [4] Shtyrov, Y. & Pulvermuller, F. European Journal of Neuroscience (2002, in press).