COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE AND NEUROPSYCHOLOGYERPs reveal sensitivity to hypothetical contexts in spoken discourseDwivedi, Veena D.a d; Drury, John E.c d; Molnar, Monikac d; Phillips, Natalie A.b d; Baum, Sharic d; Steinhauer, Karstenc dAuthor Information aDepartment of Applied Linguistics, Brock University, Ontario bDepartment of Psychology, Concordia University cSchool of Communication Sciences and Disorders, McGill University dCentre for Research on Language, Mind, and Brain, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Centre for Research on Language, Mind, and Brain, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Correspondence to Veena Dhar Dwivedi, PhD, Department of Applied Linguistics, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St Catharines, Niagara, Ontario, Canada L2A 3A1 Tel: +905 688 5550 x5389; fax: +1 905 688 2360; e-mail: [email protected] Received 21 May 2010 accepted 24 May 2010 NeuroReport: August 4, 2010 - Volume 21 - Issue 11 - p 791-795 doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32833cae0d Buy Metrics Abstract We used event-related potentials to examine the interaction between two dimensions of discourse comprehension: (i) referential dependencies across sentences (e.g. between the pronoun ‘it’ and its antecedent ‘a novel’ in: ‘John is reading a novel. It ends quite abruptly’), and (ii) the distinction between reference to events/situations and entities/individuals in the real/actual world versus in hypothetical possible worlds. Cross-sentential referential dependencies are disrupted when the antecedent for a pronoun is embedded in a sentence introducing hypothetical entities (e.g. ‘John is considering writing a novel. It ends quite abruptly’). An earlier event-related potential reading study showed such disruptions yielded a P600-like frontal positivity. Here we replicate this effect using auditorily presented sentences and discuss the implications for our understanding of discourse-level language processing. © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.