Phonological aspects of word recognition as revealed by high-resolution spatio-temporal brain mapping
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We describe, for the first time, the use of high-resolution event-related brain potentials (hrERP) to identify the spatio-temporal characteristics of neural systems involved in phonological analysis. Subjects studied a visual word/non-word that was followed by the brief presentation of a prime letter (e.g. House, M) with the instruction to anticipate the word/non-word formed by replacing the word's first letter with the prime letter. After the prime letter, an auditory target word/non-word was presented that either matched/mismatched expectations (e.g., Mouse/Barn). ERPs were recorded to the onset of the auditory targets and scalp topographical maps were derived for the phonological mismatch negativity (PMN). The PMN reflected phonological analysis and examination of the peak topography revealed that the response was characterized by a prominent frontal, right-asymmetrical distribution. Spatial de-blurring (using current source density maps) indicated that the PMN scalp topography resulted primarily from an active left anterior source. The current results provide the initial evidence for the localization of the intra-cranial generator(s) involved in phonological analysis.
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