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Neuromagnetic evidence for early semantic access in word recognition
PULVERMULLER, F., Assadollahi, R. & Elbert, T.
European Journal of Neuroscience, 13(1), 201-205
Year of publication:
Magnetic brain responses recorded in the human magnetoencephalogram (MEG) distinguished between words with different semantics but carefully matched for frequency and length. Multiple recordings from a single subject showed that 100 milliseconds following stimulus onset, significantly stronger neuromagnetic responses were elicited by words with strong multimodal semantic associations compared to other word material. At this early processing step, there was a highly significant correlation (0.8) between the magnitude of brain responses to individual words recorded over parieto-occipital areas and their semantic association strengths. Subsequent to this early difference related to word meaning, additional differences in MEG responses emerged for words from different grammatical categories. Together, these results suggest that word meaning can be reflected by early neuromagnetic brain responses and before the grammatical information about the word is encoded.