Time travel through language: temporal shifts rapidly decrease information accessibility during reading

Citation:

Ditman, T., Holcomb, P. J., & Kuperberg, G. R. (2008). Time travel through language: temporal shifts rapidly decrease information accessibility during reading. Psychon Bull Rev , 15 (4), 750-6.

Date Published:

2008 Aug

Abstract:

The present study dissociated the immediate neural costs from the subsequent neural consequences of integrating time shifts into our mental representations of events. Event-related potentials were recorded as participants read scenarios that included words referring to short temporal shifts (e.g., after one second), moderate temporal shifts (e.g., after one hour), or long temporal shifts (e.g., after one year). These words were followed by repeated noun-phrase anaphors, which are preferred as referents for information no longer in attentional focus. The N400 was measured as an index of online conceptual integration. As the discourse unfolded, the N400 was larger for long- (e.g.,year) than for short- (e.g., second) shift words. For the anaphor, the N400 was modulated in the opposite direction. Thus, the introduction of a temporal discontinuity leads to immediate neural integration costs, as well as to decreased accessibility of earlier information.

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Last updated on 02/21/2018