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Int J Psychophysiol. 1987 May;5(1):11-8.

Effects of spontaneous cortical slow potentials on semantic information processing.


Adult subjects were tested on a choice reaction time (RT) task for decisions of word pairs as synonyms or unrelated. For each trial the word stimuli were presented contingent upon computer-detection of a predetermined negative or positive EEG baseline shift, recorded from either parietal or frontal midline electrodes. With parietal slow potential (SP) shifts, RTs were significantly faster and less variable under negative than positive polarity conditions. No appreciable RT differences were found between negative and positive SP shifts from frontal electrodes or for control subjects. The parietal negative SP shifts are considered to reflect enhanced semantic processing. The present findings in combination with previous results (Born et al., 1982, Electroencephalogr. Clin. Neurophysiol., 54: 668-676) demonstrate a double dissociation between the functional properties of negative SP shifts from parietal and frontal cortical areas, with respective involvements in semantic processing and response selection and execution.

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