Influence of Metrical Expectancy on Reading Words: An ERP Study

Cyrille Magne, Reyna L Gordon, Swati Midha, Psychology Department, Middle Tennessee State University

The purpose of the present study is to investigate to what extent metrical structure in English plays a role in silent word reading. To address this issue, EEG was recorded while participants were visually presented with lists of five bisyllabic words ending with one word that had either the same or different stress pattern as the previous four words. Results revealed that final words that did not match the stress pattern of the previous words elicited distinct ERP components. These results are taken as evidence in favor of automatic processing of speech rhythm even when reading.