Event-related brain potentials reveal how multiple aspects of semantic processing unfold across parafoveal and foveal vision during sentence reading

Brennan R. Payne, Mallory C. Stites, Kara D Federmeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent event-related brain potential (ERP) experiments have demonstrated parafoveal N400 expectancy and congruity effects, showing that semantic information can be accessed from words in parafoveal vision (a conclusion also supported by some eye-tracking work). At the same time, it is unclear how higher-order integrative aspects of language comprehension unfold across the visual field during reading. In the current study, we recorded ERPs in a parafoveal flanker paradigm, while readers were instructed to read passively for comprehension or to judge the plausibility of sentences in which target words varied in their semantic expectancy and congruity. We directly replicated prior work showing graded N400 effects for parafoveal viewing, which are then not duplicated when the target words are processed foveally. Critically, although N400 effects were not modulated by task goals, a posteriorly distributed late positive component thought to reflect semantic integration processes was observed to semantic incongruities only in the plausibility judgment task. However, this effect was observed at a considerable delay, appearing only after words had moved into foveal vision. Our findings thus suggest that semantic access can be initiated in parafoveal vision, whereas central foveal vision may be necessary to enact higher-order (and task-dependent) integrative processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13432
JournalPsychophysiology
Volume56
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

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Evoked Potentials
Semantics
Reading
Brain
Visual Fields
Language

Keywords

  • ERPs
  • N400
  • parafoveal processing
  • reading
  • semantic memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry

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Event-related brain potentials reveal how multiple aspects of semantic processing unfold across parafoveal and foveal vision during sentence reading. / Payne, Brennan R.; Stites, Mallory C.; Federmeier, Kara D.

In: Psychophysiology, Vol. 56, No. 10, e13432, 01.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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