Table_1_Brain Inhibitory Mechanisms Are Involved in the Processing of Sentential Negation, Regardless of Its Content. Evidence From EEG Theta and Beta.DOCX (15.41 kB)

Table_1_Brain Inhibitory Mechanisms Are Involved in the Processing of Sentential Negation, Regardless of Its Content. Evidence From EEG Theta and Beta Rhythms.DOCX

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posted on 08.08.2019, 13:43 by David Beltrán, Yurena Morera, Enrique García-Marco, Manuel de Vega

The two-step process account of negation understanding posits an initial representation of the negated events, followed by a representation of the actual state of events. On the other hand, behavioral and neurophysiological studies provided evidence that linguistic negation suppresses or reduces the activation of the negated events, contributing to shift attention to the actual state of events. However, the specific mechanism of this suppression is poorly known. Recently, based on the brain organization principle of neural reuse (Anderson, 2010), it has been proposed that understanding linguistic negation partially relies upon the neurophysiological mechanisms of response inhibition. Specifically, it was reported that negated action-related sentences modulate EEG signatures of response inhibition (de Vega et al., 2016; Beltrán et al., 2018). In the current EEG study, we ponder whether the reusing of response inhibition processes by negation is constrained to action-related contents or consists of a more general-purpose mechanism. To this end, we employed the same dual-task paradigm as in our prior study—a Go/NoGo task embedded into a sentence comprehension task—but this time including both action and non-action sentences. The results confirmed that the increase of theta power elicited by NoGo trials was modulated by negative sentences, compared to their affirmative counterparts, and this polarity effect was statistically similar for both action- and non-action-related sentences. Thus, a general-purpose inhibitory control mechanism, rather than one specific for action language, is likely operating in the comprehension of sentential negation to produce the transition between alternative representations.

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