Neuroelectrical Correlates of Semantic Processes

  • Dennis L. Molfese
  • Andrew Papanicolaou
  • Thomas M. Hess
  • Victoria J. Molfese
Part of the The Downstate Series of Research in Psychiatry and Psychology book series (DSRPP, volume 2)


In recent years averaged evoked response (AER) techniques have been used with increasing frequency in attempts to study the possible relationships between brain responses and linguistic processes (Waner,, & Thompson, 1977). Researchers have succeed in demonstrating that certain major components of the AER are sensitive to acoustic and phonological changes such as inflection and phoneme category membership (Wood, Goff, & Day, 1971; Wood, 1975), voicing (Molfese a, in press) formant structure and consonant transitions (Molfese, Nunez, Seibert, & Ramanaiah, 1976; Molfese b, in press). In addition, AER components sensitive to syntactic and semantic factors have also been identified (Begleiter & Platz, 1969; Brown, Marsh, & Smith, 1973, 1976; Chapman, McCrary, Chapman & Bragdon, in press; Shelburne, 1972, 1973; Thatcher a, in press; Thatcher b, in press). Such research strongly suggests that various linguistic processes can be successfully assessed with AER techniques. However, few studies have attempted to investigate how the various linguistic elements such as phonology and semantics interact to produce differences in the AER. Chomsky & Halle (1968) have proposed a serial processing model which suggests that the language listener must first encode each phonological element in the order of its appearance and then, only after all such elements have been encoded, proceed to the semantic and syntactic processing levels.


Speech Perception Semantic Process Speech Sound Clinical Neurophysiology Linguistic Process 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis L. Molfese
    • 1
  • Andrew Papanicolaou
    • 1
  • Thomas M. Hess
    • 1
  • Victoria J. Molfese
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySouthern Illinois University at CarbondaleCarbondaleUSA

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