Large-scale replication study reveals a limit on probabilistic prediction in language comprehension

Nieuwland, M. S. et al. (2018) Large-scale replication study reveals a limit on probabilistic prediction in language comprehension. eLife, 7, e33468. (doi:10.7554/eLife.33468.001)

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Abstract

Do people routinely pre-activate the meaning and even the phonological form of upcoming words? The most acclaimed evidence for phonological prediction comes from a 2005 Nature Neuroscience publication by DeLong, Urbach and Kutas, who observed a graded modulation of electrical brain potentials (N400) to nouns and preceding articles by the probability that people use a word to continue the sentence fragment (‘cloze’). In our direct replication study spanning 9 laboratories (N=334), pre-registered replication-analyses and exploratory Bayes factor analyses successfully replicated the noun-results but, crucially, not the article-results. Pre-registered single-trial analyses also yielded a statistically significant effect for the nouns but not the articles. Exploratory Bayesian single-trial analyses showed that the article-effect may be non-zero but is likely far smaller than originally reported and too small to observe without very large sample sizes. Our results do not support the view that readers routinely pre-activate the phonological form of predictable words.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barr, Dr Dale and Rousselet, Dr Guillaume
Authors: Nieuwland, M. S., Politzer-Ahles, S., Heyselaar, E., Segaert, K., Darley, E., Kazanina, N., Von Grebmer Zu Wolfsthurn, S., Bartolozzi, F., Kogan, V., Ito, A., Mézière, D., Barr, D. J., Rousselet, G. A., Ferguson, H., Busch-Moreno, S., Fu, X., Tuomainen Eugenia Kulakova, J., Husband, E. M., Donaldson, D. I., Kohút, Z., Rueschemeyer, S.-A., and Huettig, F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:eLife
Publisher:eLife Sciences Publications
ISSN:2050-084X
ISSN (Online):2050-084X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Nieuwland et al.
First Published:First published in eLife 7:e33468
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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