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Keywords:

  • Language/speech;
  • Cognition;
  • Normal volunteers;
  • EEG/ERP

Abstract

This study was designed to investigate orthographic effects on spoken word recognition by combining the priming paradigm with a measure of event-related brain potentials (ERPs). Primes and targets either shared both orthography and phonology of the rhyme (beef-reef) or they shared rhyme phonology only (leaf-reef). The two “related” conditions were compared against an “unrelated” condition (sick-reef). The results revealed a significant orthographic priming effect that was present on the early part of the N400 and that occurred as early as the phonological priming effect itself. Importantly, phonological and orthographic priming effects had different topographic distributions: The phonological priming effect was localized over centro-posterior regions, whereas the orthographic priming effect was more anterior. These results support a theory according to which orthographic information is coactivated online in spoken word recognition.