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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01964

Prefix Stripping Re-Re-Revisited: MEG investigations of Morphological Decomposition and Recomposition

  • 1Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
  • 2University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 3New York University, United States
  • 4New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • 5Johns Hopkins University, United States

We revisit a long-standing question in the psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic literature on comprehending morphologically complex words: are prefixes and suffixes processed using the same cognitive mechanisms? Recent work using MEG to uncover the dynamic temporal and spatial responses evoked by visually presented complex suffixed single words provide us with a comprehensive picture of morphological processing in the brain, from early, form-based decomposition, through lexical access, grammatically constrained recomposition, and semantic interpretation. In the present study, we find that MEG responses to prefixed words reveal interesting early differences in the lateralization of the form-based decomposition response compared to the effects reported in the literature for suffixed words, but a very similar post-decomposition profile. These results not only address a question stretching back to the earliest days of modern psycholinguistics, but also add critical support and nuance to our much newer emerging understanding of spatial organization and temporal dynamics of morphological processing in the human brain.

Keywords: Prefix stripping, morphological decomposition, morphological recomposition, Magnetoencephalography (MEG), morphological processing, derivational morphology, Prefixation, lexical access, grammatical licensing

Received: 21 Feb 2019; Accepted: 09 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Stockall, Manouilidou, Gwilliams, Neophytou and Marantz. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Linnaea Stockall, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom, l.stockall@qmul.ac.uk