An early electrophysiological response associated with expertise in letter perception.

Wong AC, Gauthier I, Woroch B, DeBuse C, Curran T
Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2005 5 (3): 306-18

PMID: 16396092 · DOI:10.3758/cabn.5.3.306

Expertise with print is likely to optimize visual processes for recognizing characters of a familiar writing system. Although brain activations have been identified for words and letter strings in contrast with other stimuli, relatively little work has focused on the neural basis of single-letter perception. English readers and Chinese-English bilinguals participated in an ERP study and performed a 1-back identity judgment on Roman letters, Chinese characters, pseudofonts, and their string versions. The Chinese-English bilinguals showed an enhanced N170 for both Roman letters and Chinese characters relative to pseudofonts. For the non-Chinese readers, the N170 amplitude was larger for Roman letters relative to Chinese characters and pseudofonts. Our results suggest that changes in relatively early visual processes underlie expert letter perception.

MeSH Terms (16)

Adult Analysis of Variance Brain Mapping Dominance, Cerebral Electroencephalography Evoked Potentials Female Functional Laterality Humans Language Male Multilingualism Pattern Recognition, Visual Photic Stimulation Reaction Time Time Factors

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