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Neurophysiological evidence of memory traces for words in the human brain
ICON8, 8th International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience, September 9-15, 2002, Porquerolles Island, France, p 111
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Mismatch negativity (MMN), an index of experience-dependent memory traces [1,2,3], was used to investigate the processing of lexical contrasts in the human brain. The MMN was elicited either by rare words presented among repetitive words or pseudowords, or by pseudowords presented among words. Phonetic and phonological contrasts were identical in all conditions. MMNs elicited by both word deviants were larger than that elicited by the deviant pseudoword. Presence of lexical contrast did not significantly alter the word-elicited MMNs, which were, however, distinct in amplitude and topography from the MMN evoked by pseudoword. Thus, our results confirm the word-related MMN enhancement reported earlier [2] and show that this enhancement is largely independent of the lexical status of the standard stimulus. The word-related enhancement of the MMN may reflect the existence of specific long-term memory traces for spoken words [2,4]. [1] Naatanen, R. et al. Nature 385, 432-434 (1997). [2] Pulvermuller, F., Kujala, T., Shtyrov, Y. et al. NeuroImage 14, 607-616 (2001). [3] Shtyrov, Y. et al. NeuroImage 12, 657-663 (2000). [4] Shtyrov, Y. & Pulvermuller, F. Neuroreport (2002, in press).