This research was supported by Grant Ro 529/10 from the German Research Foundation (DFG) assigned to Frank Rösler. We thank Patrick Khader for valuable suggestions and helpful discussions.
Comparing arithmetic and semantic fact retrieval: Effects of problem size and sentence constraint on event-related brain potentials
Article first published online: 11 AUG 2009
Volume 41, Issue 1, pages 46–59, January 2004
How to Cite
Jost, K., Hennighausen, E. and Rösler, F. (2004), Comparing arithmetic and semantic fact retrieval: Effects of problem size and sentence constraint on event-related brain potentials. Psychophysiology, 41: 46–59. doi: 10.1111/1469-8986.00119_41_1
- Issue published online: 11 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 11 AUG 2009
- (Received August 19, 2002; Accepted June 4, 2003)
- Mental calculation;
- Problem-size effect;
- Arithmetic N400 effect;
- Semantic N400 effect;
- Memory access;
- Event-related potentials
Event-related potentials were recorded with 61 electrodes from 16 students who verified either the correctness of single-digit multiplication problems or the semantic congruency of sentences. Multiplication problems varied in size and sentence fragments in constraint. Both semantic and arithmetic incongruencies evoked a typical N400 with a clear parieto-central maximum. In addition, numerically larger problems (8×7), in comparison to smaller problems (3×2), evoked a negativity starting at about 360 ms whose maximum was located over the right temporal-parietal scalp. These results indicate that the arithmetic incongruency and the problem-size effect are functionally distinct. It is suggested that the arithmetic and the semantic incongruency effects are both functionally related to a context-dependent spread of activation in specialized associative networks, whereas the arithmetic problem-size effect is due to rechecking routines that go beyond basic fact retrieval.