Knoeferle, Pia1; Urbach, Thomas P.2; Kutas, Marta2 Comprehending how visual context influences incremental sentence processing: Insights from ERPs and picture‐sentence verification. Psychophysiology. Vol 48(4), Apr 2011, pp. 495-506


To re-establish picture-sentence verification—discredited possibly for its over-reliance on post-sentence response time (RT) measures—as a task for situated comprehension, we collected event-related brain potentials (ERPs) as participants read a subject-verb-object sentence, and RTs indicating whether or not the verb matched a previously depicted action. For mismatches (vs. matches), speeded RTs were longer, verb N400s over centro-parietal scalp larger, and ERPs to the object noun more negative. RTs (congruence effect) correlated inversely with the centro-parietal verb N400s, and positively with the object ERP congruence effects. Verb N400s, object ERPs, and verbal working memory scores predicted more variance in RT effects (50%) than N400s alone. Thus, (1) verification processing is not all post-sentence; (2) simple priming cannot account for these results; and (3) verification tasks can inform studies of situated comprehension


Thomas Urbach

Marta Kutas


Center for Research in Language

Cognitive Electrophysiology Lab