Testing the sensory hypothesis of the early left anterior negativity with auditory stimuli


  • Evan David Bradley University of Delaware
  • Arild Hestvik University of Delaware




Recent work has shown that the visual ELAN is sensitive to morphological and phonological features of words in sentence processing, indicating that a) sensory cortex accesses syntactic information, and b) early parsing is not "syntax-only". The current study examines predictions of this sensory hypothesis in auditory processing using EEG. Ungrammatical filled-gap NPs which contain closed-class functional morphology elicited an early negativity indexing unexpected grammatical category, while those without such morphology elicited an N400 indexing argument structure integration difficulty. These results extend the sensory hypothesis into the auditory domain, and prompt further questions about the role of form in structure-building.

Author Biographies

  • Evan David Bradley, University of Delaware
    PhD Student Department of Linguistics & Cognitive Science
  • Arild Hestvik, University of Delaware
    Associate Professor Department of Linguistics & Cognitive Science