A superficial resemblance does not necessarily mean you are part of the family: Counterarguments to Coulson, King and Kutas (1998) in the P600/SPS-P300 debate

  • Osterhout L
  • Hagoort P
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Two recent studies (Coulson et al., 1998;Osterhout et al., 1996)examinedthe relationship between the event-related brain potential (ERP) responses to linguistic syntactic anomalies (P600/SPS) and domain-general unexpected events (P300). Coulson et al. concluded that these responses are highly similar, whereas Osterhout et al. concluded that they are distinct. In this comment, we evaluate the relativemerits of these claims. We conclude that the available evidence indicates that the ERP response to syntactic anomalies is at least partially distinct from the ERP response to unexpected anomalies that do not involve a grammatical violation.

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