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Neuropsychologia. 1993 Aug;31(8):853-64.

Brain potentials in a phonological matching task using Chinese characters.

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Center for Neurosciences, Habana, Cuba.


In readers of English, involved in a rhyme judgement task, mismatch trials are associated with an enhanced N450 component of the Event Related Potentials (ERPs). It has been suggested that N450 is related to orthographic or phonological priming. In this paper ERPs were recorded during a phonological matching task, using pairs of logographically dissimilar Chinese characters. A pair was considered to match if they sounded alike with identical phoneme sequences. The subjects (native Chinese speakers) were instructed to ignore vowel-inflections, which in Chinese have lexical status. Since sublexical assembly of phonology is not used in reading Chinese characters, and the members of each pair were logographically dissimilar, match and mismatch trials did not suffer in the amount of orthographic or sublexical phonological priming. An enhanced negative component (latency near 400 msec), was observed in ERPs elicited by the second character in non-matching pairs. The negativity could be similar to N450. If this were so, then N450 could not be associated with orthographic priming, nor with sublexical phonology, but would probably be associated with postlexical processing. Also, in both readers of Chinese and English, the negativity enhanced in non-match trials is larger over the right side of the scalp, suggesting a similar brain lateralization of the underlying processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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