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Poster C16, Friday, August 17, 10:30 am – 12:15 pm, Room 2000AB

Tracking the time course of letter visual-similarity effects during word recognition: A masked priming ERP investigation

Eva Gutierrez-Sigut1,2, Ana Marcet1, Manuel Perea1,3;1University of Valencia, 2University College London, 3Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language

Visual similarity effects during early stages of word processing have been consistently found for letter-like digits and symbols. However, despite its relevance for models of word recognition, evidence for letter visual-similarity effects is scarce and restricted to behavioral experiments. In a masked priming experiment, we measured ERP responses to words preceded by an identical (dentist-DENTIST), visually similar (dentist-DENTIST), or visually dissimilar prime (dentgst-DENTIST) to track the time course of the effects of letter visual-similarity during word processing. In the 230-350 ms time window, the ERPs in the visual dissimilar condition showed larger negative amplitudes than in the visual similar condition, which in turn behaved like the identity condition. The difference between the similar and dissimilar condition disappeared later in processing (400-500 ms time window), whereas there were larger negativities in the visually similar than in the identity condition. This pattern of findings can be accommodated within those theoretical models of word recognition that assume uncertainty concerning letter identities early in word processing that is ultimately resolved.

Topic Area: Perception: Orthographic and Other Visual Processes