The interplay of semantic and orthographic processing during reading in Spanish. An electrophysiological study

The interplay of semantic and orthographic processing during reading in Spanish. An electrophysiological study

First Author: Fabiola Reveca Gomez-Velazquez -- University of Guadalajara
Additional authors/chairs: 
Jaun F. Quiñonez-Beltran; Vanessa D. Ruiz-Stovel; Andres A. Gonzalez-Garrido
Keywords: orthographic processing, Semantic Processing, ERP, Reading, Adult Students
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Event-related potential (ERP) studies have provided valuable information about semantic processing, showing that N400 is a component sensitive to language expectancy violations. However, it is not clear how different types of knowledge are integrated during reading comprehension. We used ERPs to study the interplay of semantic and orthographic processing during reading.
Methods: We record electrophysiological and behavioral information from 36 right-handed young adults (16 male, 20 female), during a semantic verification task, in which a total of 170 high cloze probability sentences were visually presented, and participants were asked to determine if the sentence was semantically congruent or incongruent regardless of spelling errors. The sentences consisted of 6 words in which the last word was completed by a) a congruent word, b) a congruent word with a pseudo-homophone error, c) a congruent word with a typo-like error, d) an incongruent word, or e) an incongruent word with a pseudo-homophone error.
Results: Our results showed that the N400 component seems to be insensitive to orthographic information and is determined essentially by semantic incongruence. Orthographic expectancy violations are reflected by a late positivity, the P600 amplitude was modulated for pseudo-homophones (sentence completions that are acceptable phonologically but are misspelled) and typo-like errors, but only in semantically congruent endings. Furthermore, the orthographic knowledge of the participants positively correlated with the amplitude of N400 and P600 electrophysiological components.
Conclusions: It seems that orthographic information is not fully processed when there is deeper linguistic processing in progress, such as semantic incongruence.