Distinguishing different fictional worlds during sentence comprehension: ERP evidence

Jie Yang, Jin Xue*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    The neural mechanism of distinguishing reality from fiction has been explored recently. While people only represent one real world, they are likely to have representations for multiple fictional worlds. This study used event-related potentials to investigate how different fictional events were distinguished during sentence comprehension. Participants read fictional events involving real people (e.g., President Bush) or unreal characters (e.g., Lord Voldemort). Inconsistency of reality was created by introducing real people into the events involving unreal characters or introducing unreal characters into the events involving real people. The results indicated that inconsistency in reality in both types of fictional events elicited a late positive effect, and an interaction between event type and consistency effect was found in medial sites. These results suggested that reality information is important for the construction and updating of situation models.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)42-51
    Number of pages10
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


    • Event-related potential
    • Fictional event
    • Late positivity
    • Reality
    • Sentence comprehension


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