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Grapheme Monitoring in Picture Naming: An Electrophysiological Study of Language Production
HAUK, O., Rockstroh, B. & Eulitz, C.
Brain Topography, 14 (1) 3-13
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Electrocortical correlates of language production were examined in two picture naming tasks that involved grapheme monitoring. In both tasks subjects (N=12) had to detect target letters in picture names, the target letter being positioned either at the beginning or at the end of the picture name. Between tasks, the target letter was shown either before (target-picture, TP) or after (picture-target, PT) the presentation of the object pictures. In both tasks, subjects responded faster, whenever the target letter appeared at the beginning of the picture name than at its end. The EEG, recorded from 64 electrodes, was analyzed in the signal and in the source space (using the Minimum Norm estimate). Differences in the event-related potential (ERP) following the second stimulus became evident earlier in the PT (at 320 ms) than the TP (456 ms) task. This onset of diverging ERPs was called the "point of divergence" (POD). The ERP following the PODwas characterized by a positive deflection in the "begin" condition in both tasks. In the "end" condition, the sources of brain activity were focused over the left hemisphere in the TP, while a bilateral distribution characterized the PT task. Perfor-mance and electrocortical indices support the hypothesis of serial "left-to-right" processing of a representation of the picture name. The left-hemispheric activity focus in the TP task is assumed to indicate the encoding of the picture name, while frontal symmetrical activity in the PT task might indicate the involvement of working memory processes.