Hemispheric differences in the time-course of semantic priming processes: Evidence from event-related potentials (ERPs)

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Abstract

To investigate hemispheric differences in the timing of word priming, the modulation of event-related potentials by semantic word relationships was examined in each cerebral hemisphere. Primes and targets, either categorically (silk–wool) or associatively (needle–sewing) related, were presented to the left or right visual field in a go/no-go lexical decision task. The results revealed significant reaction-time and physiological differences in both visual fields only for associatively related word pairs, but an electrophysiological difference also tended to reach significance for categorically related words when presented in the left visual field. ERP waveforms showed a different time-course of associative priming effects according to the field of presentation. In the right visual field/left hemisphere, both N400 and Late Positive Component (LPC/P600) were modulated by semantic relatedness, while only a late effect was present in the left visual field/ right hemisphere.

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