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Poster C2, Thursday, November 9, 10:00 – 11:15 am, Harborview and Loch Raven Ballrooms

Neural synchronization of syntactic priming during face-to-face communications

Wenda Liu1, Xialu Bai1, Hui Zhao1, Yuhang Long1, Lifen Zheng1, Chunming Lu1;1Beijing Normal University

Syntactic priming is a unique manifestation in psychological linguistics and has been proven in many experimental paradigms and in or across several languages, but the neural mechanism behind this phenomenon remains unclear. In this study, functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-based hyperscanning was employed to measure brain activities of two communicators simultaneously during face-to-face communication with eye contact, face-to-face communication without eye contact, and back-to-back communication. The two communicators either produced the same syntactic structure [Double-Object(DO) or Prepositional-Object(PO) separately]] or different syntactic structures (DO and PO alternately, as a control task). Results showed that, in both face-to-face with eye contact condition and without eye contact condition, there was a significant increase of interpersonal neural synchronization (INS) in the DODO task relative to the control task in the left pSTC. The face-to-face with eye-contact condition additionally recruited the left SMC, whereas the task without eye contact additionally recruited the right TPJ. There was no significant increase of INS in the back-to-back condition. Also, no significant results were found for the POPO task in any conditions. In addition, the increase of INS correlated significantly with the accuracy of task performance in the DODO task, but not in the POPO task. These findings suggest that neural synchronization may underlies the alignment of syntax representation during communication, and different types of syntax representation corresponds to different level of neural synchronization. Thus, the neural synchronization can be considered as a neural marker of syntax representation in communications.

Topic Area: Grammar: Syntax

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