Under the Implicit Prosody Hypothesis, readers generate prosodic structures during silent reading that can direct their real-time interpretations of the text. In the current study, we investigated the processing of implicit meter by recording event-related potentials (ERPs) while participants read a series of 160 rhyming couplets, where the rhyme target was always a stress-alternating noun–verb homograph (e.g., permit, which is pronounced PERmit as a noun and perMIT as a verb). The target had a strong–weak or weak–strong stress pattern, which was either consistent or inconsistent with the stress expectation generated by the couplet. Inconsistent strong–weak targets elicited negativities between 80–155 ms and 325–375 ms relative to consistent strong–weak targets; inconsistent weak–strong targets elicited a positivity between 365–435 ms relative to consistent weak–strong targets. These results are largely consistent with effects of metric violations during listening, demonstrating that implicit prosodic representations are similar to explicit prosodic representations.
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