Tracking the Time Course of Word-Frequency Effects in Auditory Word Recognition With Event-Related Potentials
Article first published online: 16 NOV 2012
Copyright © 2012 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Volume 37, Issue 3, pages 489–507, April 2013
How to Cite
Dufour, S., Brunellière, A. and Frauenfelder, U. H. (2013), Tracking the Time Course of Word-Frequency Effects in Auditory Word Recognition With Event-Related Potentials. Cognitive Science, 37: 489–507. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12015
- Issue published online: 22 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 16 NOV 2012
- Received 22 August 2011; received in revised form 1 June 2012; accepted 5 June 2012
- Neighborhood density;
- Event-related potentials
Although the word-frequency effect is one of the most established findings in spoken-word recognition, the precise processing locus of this effect is still a topic of debate. In this study, we used event-related potentials (ERPs) to track the time course of the word-frequency effect. In addition, the neighborhood density effect, which is known to reflect mechanisms involved in word identification, was also examined. The ERP data showed a clear frequency effect as early as 350 ms from word onset on the P350, followed by a later effect at word offset on the late N400. A neighborhood density effect was also found at an early stage of spoken-word processing on the PMN, and at word offset on the late N400. Overall, our ERP differences for word frequency suggest that frequency affects the core processes of word identification starting from the initial phase of lexical activation and including target word selection. They thus rule out any interpretation of the word frequency effect that is limited to a purely decisional locus after word identification has been completed.