Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Neuroimage. 1998 Jan;7(1):1-13.

Event-related brain potential imaging of semantic encoding during processing single words.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene 97403, USA.


Functional brain imaging studies with positron emission tomography (PET) have identified blood flow changes in widely separated areas of brain during the performance of word processing tasks. In the present study we have utilized event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to investigate the temporal relationships among cortical areas previously identified by PET to be differentially activated when performing semantic tasks with visual words. ERPs revealed task-related differences over the central and left inferior frontal regions around 170 and 220 ms, respectively, over a left occipital region around 200 ms, over a large left parietotemporal region around 600 ms, and finally over the right temporal lobe around 800 ms after the word presentation. Analysis of topographic maps and dipole sources as well as PET data allowed relating frontal midline positivity around 170 ms to the anterior cingulate activation, and left inferior frontal positivity around 220 ms to the PET activation of the left inferior prefrontal cortex. The left parieto-temporal positivity around 600 ms seems to reflect the activity of Wernicke's area. The right anterior temporal negativity beginning around 800 ms and peaking around 1100 ms may reflect the activity of the right insula. The left occipital negativity around 200 ms is likely to reflect activation of a visual word-form area in the left occipital lobe. These results provide the time course for parts of the circuitry involved in semantic processing of words and also demonstrate how combining the spatial localization of PET with the temporal resolution of ERPs helps to understand the brain mechanisms involved in human cognition.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk