ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2017, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (9): 1137-1149.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.01137

• •    下一篇


 李卫君1;  张晶晶2,3;  杨玉芳2,3   

  1.  (1辽宁师范大学脑与认知神经科学研究中心, 大连 116029) (2中国科学院心理研究所行为科学重点实验室, 北京 100101) (3中国科学院大学, 北京 100049)
  • 收稿日期:2016-11-16 出版日期:2017-09-25 发布日期:2017-07-14
  • 通讯作者: 李卫君, E-mail:; 杨玉芳, E-mail: E-mail:E-mail:; E-mail:
  • 基金资助:
     国家自然科学基金 (NSFC:31000505, 31200849, 31471075)和国家自然科学基金委员会与英国皇家学会合作交流项目(31611130183)项目资助。

 The cognitive processing of contrastive focus and its relationship with pitch accent

LI Weijun1; ZHANG Jingjing2,3; YANG Yufang2,3   

  1.  (1 Research Center of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, China) (2 Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China) (3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)
  • Received:2016-11-16 Online:2017-09-25 Published:2017-07-14
  • Contact: LI Weijun, E-mail:; YANG Yufang, E-mail: E-mail:E-mail:; E-mail:
  • Supported by:

摘要:  信息结构作为语言学的一个重要概念, 在语言学、心理学和神经科学等领域进行了广泛的研究。其中, 从焦点和背景这一维度对信息结构的研究最多。通常情况下, 人们会重读焦点信息。本研究使用ERP技术, 通过对话语篇考察了不同位置对比焦点和重读的一致性对口语语篇理解的影响。研究发现, 对比焦点不受位置影响, 稳定诱发中后部分布正波, 且小句末尾焦点诱发的正效应早于小句内部。此外, 重读相对于不重读在小句内部和末尾都诱发了正效应, 并且出现在较晚的时间窗口。尽管焦点不重读相对于一致性重读没有诱发任何脑电效应, 但背景重读相对背景不重读在小句末尾诱发了一个早期负效应。本研究表明, 听者按照不同的方式、即时使用不同位置的对比焦点和重读信息建构语篇表征。

关键词:  信息结构, 重读, 焦点, 背景

Abstract:  Information structure (IS) is a very important pragmatic concept in linguistics. It has been broadly studied in linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, etc. IS can be generally distinguished as focus/new information and background/given information. It is proper for focused/new information to receive accent. Recently, researchers have shown increasing interest in the neural mechanism of focus processing and its relationship with pitch accent. It was generally found that focus elicited a widely distributed positivity compared to background (non-focused) information in both visual and auditory domain, although these positivities varied in time course, amplitude and scalp distribution. As for its relationship with pitch accent, the results are complicated due to the variability in task (prosodic, semantic), language (German, Dutch, and Chinese, etc.), focus-marking device (context-question, pitch accent, it cleft structure, etc.), as well as information status (being new or given information). The present study aims to investigate the processing of contrastive focus and its interaction with pitch accent at different positions using ERPs. We used a highly constraining question as context, which posited two single nouns (NP1 and NP2) at different positions (in the medial and end of clause) in the answer sentence as contrastive focus (new information, narrow focus). Twenty (nine males) healthy undergraduates participated in the experiment. The participants were told to listen carefully to each dialogue, and completed a sentence comprehension task. The EEG was recorded from 64 scalp channels using electrodes mounted in an elastic cap. Focus and accent related ERPs were calculated for a 1500 ms epoch including a 200 ms pre-critical words baseline. It was found that focus evoked a larger positivity compared to non-focus at both positions. This was convinced by the statistical analysis result at both NP1 during 650-1300 ms, F(1, 19) = 8.29, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.29, and NP2 during 550-1050 ms, F(1, 19) = 14.45, p < 0.001, η2p = 0.38. Besides, accented words elicited a larger positivity than unaccented ones at both of NP1 (950-1150 ms), F(1, 19) = 7.39, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.22, and NP2(1050-1400ms), F(1, 19) = 8.04, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.30. Furthermore, missing accent on focus did not elicit any observable brain effect compared to accented focus at both positions in the lateral area, F(1, 19) < 1, ps > 0.05. At the end of the clause, however, accent on background information elicited a larger negativity (200-350 ms) compared to consistently unaccented background, F(1, 19) = 10.84, p < 0.01, η2p = 0.38, while there was no significant difference between accented and unaccented focus, F(1, 19) < 1, p > 0.05. Overall, the positive effect elicited by focus at both positions may reflect that listeners consume more cognitive resource to integrate focus to discourse compared to non-focus. Besides, accented words elicited a larger positivity than unaccented ones at both positions, indicating that prosodic prominence attracted more attention than unaccented information. Finally, accent on non-focus evoked a larger negativity compared to unaccented non-focus at the end of the clause. This result may reflect that listeners were sensitive to the information structure induced by pitch accent and the processing were influenced by the position of focus. In sum, the current results suggest that listeners make on-line use of both focus and pitch accent in various ways at different positions to build coherent representations of dialogues.

Key words:  information structure, accent, focus, background