Objectives: The purpose of this study is to use an event-related potential (ERP) experiment with normally developing young and elderly groups to investigate honorifics processing, a unique linguistic form of the Korean language. Methods: A total of 44 participants (young, 23; elderly, 21) took part in the study. Experimental sentences were made of 3 syntactic words, 'appellation+object+predicate'. According to the high/low social status exhibited in appellation and consistency with predicate final endings, two sentences were formed with a total of 4 experimental conditions. The last verbal word of the presented sentence was the critical word. The electroencephalography was recorded from 32 channels following the International 10-20 system, and mean amplitude was analyzed. Results: The behavioral results showed that the average positive response rate and the response time of the young group were much higher and faster, respectively, than that of the elderly group. The N400 component was observed in a time window of 300-500 ms when the relative social status was inconsistent with its predicate final ending due to pragmatic violations and failure of semantic integration during vocabulary processing. Also, the P600 component was observed in the time window of 500-800 ms due to grammatical abnormality. Conclusion: compared to the young group, delay of sentence process capability during linguistic processing occurs due to the weakened neurological condition of the elderly.
- Sentence processing