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Brain Lang. 2012 Oct;123(1):52-63. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2012.06.009. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Reduced N400 semantic priming effects in adult survivors of paediatric and adolescent traumatic brain injury.

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Centre for Neurogenic Communication Disorders Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


The immediate and long-term neural correlates of linguistic processing deficits reported following paediatric and adolescent traumatic brain injury (TBI) are poorly understood. Therefore, the current research investigated event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited during a semantic picture-word priming experiment in two groups of highly functioning individuals matched for various demographic variables and behavioural language performance. Participants in the TBI group had a recorded history of paediatric or adolescent TBI involving injury mechanisms associated with diffuse white matter pathology, while participants in the control group never sustained any insult to the brain. A comparison of N400 Mean Amplitudes elicited during three experimental conditions with varying semantic relatedness between the prime and target stimuli (congruent, semantically related, unrelated) revealed a significantly smaller N400 response in the unrelated condition in the TBI group, indicating residual linguistic processing deviations when processing demands required the quick detection of a between-category (unrelated) violation of semantic expectancy.

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