This work was made possible by research grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), by infrastructure support from the Canada Fund for Innovation and the Fonds pour la Recherche en Santé du Québec, and by the Canada Research Chairs program awarded to Pierre Jolicœur, and by a postdoctoral fellowship from NSERC awarded to François Vachon. We thank Christine Lefebvre, Jennifer Thibault, Elena Kulagina, Olivier Charron, and Jessica Pineault for technical assistance.
Impaired semantic processing during task-set switching: Evidence from the N400 in rapid serial visual presentation
Article first published online: 7 JUN 2010
Copyright © 2010 Society for Psychophysiological Research
Volume 48, Issue 1, pages 102–111, January 2011
How to Cite
Vachon, F. and Jolicœur, P. (2011), Impaired semantic processing during task-set switching: Evidence from the N400 in rapid serial visual presentation. Psychophysiology, 48: 102–111. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2010.01040.x
- Issue published online: 9 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 7 JUN 2010
- (Received July 1, 2009; Accepted January 18, 2010)
- Normal volunteers;
The cognitive system is able to reconfigure mental resources flexibly to adapt to new a task. While task-set switching is known to be detrimental to behavioral performance, less is known about the precise loci of these effects on stimulus processing. We measured event-related potentials to explore the neural consequences of task-set switching on semantic processing. We examined the context-sensitive N400 component evoked by the second of two target words embedded in a rapid serial visual presentation under conditions that involved either a task-set switch or no switching. Whereas the N400 was unaffected by the lag separating the targets in the absence of switching, it was delayed and attenuated in the switch condition when the targets were adjacent in the sequence. These findings indicate that task-set reconfiguration temporarily prevents semantic activation and provide evidence for the nonautomaticity of semantic processing of words.