Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Authors' Response

Relations of lexical access to neural implementation and syntactic encoding 1

Willem J. M. Levelt a1, Antje S. Meyer a2 and Ardi Roelofs a1
a1 Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, 6500 AH Nijmegen, The Netherlands [email protected] [email protected]
a2 School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom [email protected]


How can one conceive of the neuronal implementation of the processing model we proposed in our target article? In his commentary (Pulvermüller 1999, reprinted here in this issue), Pulvermüller makes various proposals concerning the underlying neural mechanisms and their potential localizations in the brain. These proposals demonstrate the compatibility of our processing model and current neuroscience. We add further evidence on details of localization based on a recent meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies of word production (Indefrey & Levelt 2000). We also express some minor disagreements with respect to Pulvermüller's interpretation of the “lemma” notion, and concerning his neural modeling of phonological code retrieval. Branigan & Pickering discuss important aspects of syntactic encoding, which was not the topic of the target article. We discuss their well-taken proposal that multiple syntactic frames for a single verb lemma are represented as independent nodes, which can be shared with other verbs, such as accounting for syntactic priming in speech production. We also discuss how, in principle, the alternative multiple-frame-multiple-lemma account can be tested empirically. The available evidence does not seem to support that account.


1 BBS Note: The original manuscript of this Response article was received on January 14, 2000.