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Neuroreport. 2001 Feb 12;12(2):249-53.

Magnetoencephalographic (MEG) localization of the auditory N400m: effects of stimulus duration.

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Department of Phonetics, University of Helsinki, Finland.


The effects of stimulus duration on the elicitation and equivalent current dipole (ECD) localization of the auditory N400(m) were studied in two subject groups, either familiar or unfamiliar with Finnish language, using a sentence-processing paradigm with incongruent ending words of either short or long duration. Long-duration words elicited a broad response at around 400 ms, the generator location(s) of which could not be reliably determined using ECD estimation. In contrast, short-duration words elicited a sharp, strong-amplitude response at about 400 ms latency and it's source location could be reliably determined as being in the vicinity of auditory cortex. Subjects unfamiliar with the Finnish language elicited no response at the 400 ms range. Thus, the use of short-duration words appears to be an important prerequisite for the elicitation and localization of N400m. The differential amplitude behaviour of the N400m between the two subject groups further suggests that comprehension of the semantic content of the speech message is also required.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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