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研究生:徐坤宇
研究生(外文):Kun-Yu Xu
論文名稱:How the Brain Deals with the Asymmetry between Chinese Subject and Object Relative Clauses: Support for a Dynamic Processing Theory
論文名稱(外文):How the Brain Deals with the Asymmetry between Chinese Subject and Object Relative Clauses: Support for a Dynamic Processing Theory
指導教授:段正仁段正仁引用關係吳嫻吳嫻引用關係
指導教授(外文):Jeng-Ren DuannHsien Wu
學位類別:博士
校院名稱:國立中央大學
系所名稱:認知與神經科學研究所
學門:社會及行為科學學門
學類:心理學類
論文出版年:2020
畢業學年度:108
語文別:英文
論文頁數:203
中文關鍵詞:關係子句句子難度句子處理單句子觀察有效性連結
外文關鍵詞:Relative ClauseSentence ComplexitySentence ProcessingSingle-sentence ObservationEffective Connectivity
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鑒於關係子句的複雜性及類型豐富性,其相關研究已經成為一個非常重要的議 題。以往研究發現,雖然主語關係子句和賓語關係子句僅在詞序上不同,但存在明顯 的難易差別。因此,兩類關係子句的比較研究為理解大腦如何處理不同難度的句子提 供了重要材料。儘管大
The processing of relative clauses (RCs) has been an important topic owing to its grammatical complexity as well as its rich typology. Extensive research has found that there is a processing asymmetry between the two most common types of RCs, subject-extracted relative clauses (SRCs) and object-extracted relative clauses (ORCs). Comparison of SRCs and ORCs, which differ minimally in word order, provides us valuable materials to investigate how the human brain interprets sentences with different levels of processing difficulty. A great deal of research has indicated that SRCs are consistently easier to comprehend than ORCs in Indo- European languages, which seems to raise a very attractive proposition of a universal preference for SRCs; however, it has been a long-standing debate about whether Chinese SRCs are also easier to process than ORCs. Moreover, the neural correlates underlying the processing of Chinese RCs have been poorly understood before. Therefore, one aim of this dissertation is to investigate the processing preference pattern between Chinese SRCs and ORCs by conducting a series of self-paced reading experiments (Chapter 2) and also explore the neural mechanisms underlying the comprehension of Chinese RCs by running fMRI experiments (Chapter 3 and 4). Another aim is to elaborate on how the human brain dynamically adjusts itself for comprehending Chinese RCs with different levels of processing difficulty by applying a newly-developed single-trial analysis (Chapter 5).

The present findings from a series of self-paced reading experiments (Chapter 2) demonstrated that there was a processing asymmetry between Chinese SRCs and ORCs and Chinese ORCs were easier to comprehend than Chinese SRCs. The ORC preference in Chinese thus poses a challenge to the theoretical approaches that predict a universal SRC advantage and also highlight the importance of investigating language-specific processing mechanisms in sentence comprehension. Besides, these behavioral findings set a reference for interpretations of the neural mechanisms underlying the processing of Chinese SRCs and ORCs.

The neuroimaging studies (Chapter 3 and 4) then presented clear neuroimaging evidence, for the first time in the literature, to support the ORC preference in Chinese, as reflected in enhanced activation of the LIFG and the LSTG during the comprehension of Chinese SRCs than ORCs. In addition to crucial roles of the LIFG and the LSTG, these neuroimaging results also indicate that enhanced effective connectivity from the LIFG to the LSTG may prominently contribute to the comprehension of Chinese SRCs that are more difficult than ORCs.

Further, through a single-trial analysis by combining fMRI and eye-tracking data (Chapter 5), the strength of the connectivity from the LIFG to the LSTG was found to be significantly correlated with the processing difficulty of Chinese SRCs. The findings further confirm our assumption that the effective connectivity from the LIFG to the LSTG plays an important role during the processing of RC structures. Enhanced strength of this connectivity is claimed to reflect increased integration demands and restructuring attempts for sentence comprehension.

In sum, the findings of this dissertation contribute to the understanding of the subject-object asymmetry in Chinese and the neural mechanisms underlying the comprehension of Chinese RCs. Moreover, the additional sources of evidence from a single-trial analysis reveal that brain activation in between the LIFG and the LSTG can dynamically attune to different levels of processing difficulty. Besides, the collected behavioral and neuroimaging evidence from the same set of stimuli in a series of studies demonstrate that grammatically different sentences but with subtle differences in semantic content can be detected in brain activation patterns. Therefore, in addition to traditional measures (i.e., reading time, eye fixation time), the dynamic networking pattern change might be another useful index to differentiate the difficulty level of sentence comprehension, as what we found in the current neuroimaging studies.
摘要 I
Abstract III
Acknowledgments. V
Table of Contents .VI
List of Figures..X
ist of Tables. XII
List of Abbreviations XIII
Chapter 1 General Introduction 1
1.1 The subject-object asymmetry in relative clause processing.3
1.1.1 Relative clause processing 3
1.1.2 The processing asymmetry between different types of relative clauses 4
1.1.3 Factors affecting Chinese relative clause processing..7
1.2 Different theoretical predictions for Chinese subject-object asymmetry .12
1.2.1 Structural distance account.12
1.2.2 Working memory accounts.14 1
.2.3 Experience / Frequency-based accounts .16
1.2.4 Interim summary .18
1.3 Empirical exploration of Chinese subject-object asymmetry.18
1.3.1 Reports from behavioral studies..18
1.3.2 Results from electrophysiological studies..21
1.4 Neuroimaging studies and the current gaps.22
1.5 Aims and research questions.28
1.6 The conception of this dissertation..29
1.7 The outline of this dissertation ..31
Chapter 2 Behavioral Observations of Chinese Subject-Object Asymmetry ..34
2.1 Introduction 34
2.2 Experiment 1: Exploration of Chinese subject-object asymmetry when relative clauses were at the subject-modifying position.35
2.2.1 Methods 35
2.2.2 Results..39
2.2.3 Discussion ..43
2.3 Experiment 2: Exploration of Chinese subject-object asymmetry when relative clauses were at the object-modifying position ..44
2.3.1 Method .44
2.3.2 Results..46
2.3.3 Discussion ..50
2.4 Experiment 3: Re-examination of Chinese subject-object asymmetry when relative clauses were at the subject-modifying position.51
2.4.1 Methods 51
2.4.2 Results..52
2.4.3 Discussion ..53
2.5 Experiment 4: Re-examination of Chinese subject-object asymmetry when relative clauses were at the object-modifying position. .54
2.5.1 Participants, stimuli, and procedure..54
2.5.2 Results..55
2.5.3 Discussion ..59
2.6 General discussion 59
Chapter 3 Neuroimaging Investigation of Chinese Subject-Object Asymmetry 63
3.1 Background.63
3.2 Methods .65
3.2.1 Participants.65
3.2.2 Materials and design..65
3.2.3 Procedure.66
3.2.4 Imaging protocol .68
3.2.5 Imaging data analysis 69
3.2.6 Granger causality analysis..70
3.3 Results 73
3.3.1 Offline comprehension performance.73
3.3.2 Imaging results.73
3.4 Discussion.77
Chapter 4 Dynamic Brain Activations Subserve Different Sentence Processing ..84
4.1 Introduction .84
4.2 Method87
4.2.1 Participants.87
4.2.2 Materials..87
4.2.3 Procedure.88
4.2.4 Imaging protocol .90
4.2.5 Imaging data analysis 91
4.2.6 Granger causality analysis..92
4.3 Results 93
4.3.1 Behavioral performance 93
4.3.2 Whole-brain analysis.95
4.3.3 Granger causality results . 99
4.4 Discussion..104
Chapter 5 BOLD-based Brain Connectivity Attuned to the Complexity of Relative Clause Sentences Revealed by a Single-trial Analysis .109
5.1 Introduction ..109
5.2 Methods .. 113
5.2.1 Participants..113
5.2.2 Materials113
5.2.3 Apparatus.. 115
5.2.4 Procedures 116
5.2.5 Data analysis for eye-tracking data . 118
5.2.6 Data analysis for the fMRI data 119
5.2.7 Sentence complexity ..125
5.3 Results .126
5.3.1 The eye-tracking results 126
5.3.2 The fMRI results ..129
5.3.3 Single-sentence analysis 132
5.4 Discussion..134
Chapter 6 General Discussion 140
6.1 Results summary and discussion 140
6.1.1 Chinese ORCs are easier to comprehend than SRCs. 140
6.1.2 Brain connectivity attunes to different processing difficulty .144
6.2 Limitations and future works 149
6.3 Conclusions ..152
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