Cognitive Science 40 (6):n/a-n/a (2016)

Abstract
The suitability of the artificial grammar learning paradigm to capture relevant aspects of the acquisition of linguistic structures has been empirically tested in a number of EEG studies. Some have shown a syntax-related P600 component, but it has not been ruled out that the AGL P600 effect is a response to surface features rather than the underlying syntax structure. Therefore, in this study, we controlled for the surface characteristics of the test sequences and recorded the EEG before and after exposure to a grammar. After exposure, a typical, centroparietal P600 effect was elicited by grammatical violations and not by unfamiliar subsequences, suggesting that the AGL P600 effect signals a response to structural irregularities. Moreover, preference and grammaticality classification showed a qualitatively similar ERP profile, strengthening the idea that the implicit structural mere-exposure paradigm in combination with preference classification is a suitable alternative to the traditional grammaticality classification test.
Keywords Preference classification   EEG  Implicit learning  Artificial grammar learning  Structural mere‐exposure  Artificial syntax
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DOI 10.1111/cogs.12343
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