Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Psychophysiol. 2011 Dec;82(3):217-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2011.08.009. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Word position affects stimulus recognition: evidence for early ERP short-term plastic modulation.

Author information

Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, via Venezia 8, 35131 Padova, Italy.


The present study was aimed at investigating the short-term plastic changes that follow word learning at a neurophysiological level. The main hypothesis was that word position (left or right visual field, LVF/RH or RVF/LH) in the initial learning phase would leave a trace that affected, in the subsequent recognition phase, the Recognition Potential (i.e., the first negative component distinguishing words from other stimuli) elicited 220-240 ms after centrally presented stimuli. Forty-eight students were administered, in the learning phase, 125 words for 4s, randomly presented half in the left and half in the right visual field. In the recognition phase, participants were split into two equal groups, one was assigned to the Word task, the other to the Picture task (in which half of the 125 pictures were new, and half matched prior studied words). During the Word task, old RVF/LH words elicited significantly greater negativity in left posterior sites with respect to old LVF/RH words, which in turn showed the same pattern of activation evoked by new words. Therefore, correspondence between stimulus spatial position and hemisphere specialized in automatic word recognition created a robust prime for subsequent recognition. During the Picture task, pictures matching old RVF/LH words showed no differences compared with new pictures, but evoked significantly greater negativity than pictures matching old LVF/RH words. Thus, the priming effect vanished when the task required a switch from visual analysis to stored linguistic information, whereas the lack of correspondence between stimulus position and network specialized in automatic word recognition (i.e., when words were presented to the LVF/RH) revealed the implicit costs for recognition. Results support the view that short-term plastic changes occurring in a linguistic learning task interact with both stimulus position and modality (written word vs. picture representation).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center