Scientific article
Open access

Beyond the initial 140 ms, lexical decision and reading aloud are different tasks: An ERP study with topographic analysis

Published inNeuroImage, vol. 122, p. 65-72
Publication date2015

Most of our knowledge on the time-course of the mechanisms involved in reading derived from electrophysiological studies is based on lexical decision tasks. By contrast, very few ERP studies investigated the processes involved in reading aloud. It has been suggested that the lexical decision task provides a good index of the processes occurring during reading aloud, with only late processing differences related to task response modalities. However, some behavioral studies reported different sensitivity to psycholinguistic factors between the two tasks, suggesting that print processing could differ at earlier processing stages. The aim of the present study was thus to carry out an ERP comparison between lexical decision and reading aloud in order to determine when print processing differs between these two tasks. Twenty native French speakers performed a lexical decision task and a reading aloud task with the same written stimuli. Results revealed different electrophysiological patterns on both waveform amplitudes and global topography between lexical decision and reading aloud from about 140 ms after stimulus presentation for both words and pseudowords, i.e. as early as the N170 component. These results suggest that only very early, low-level visual processes are common to the two tasks which differ in core processes. Taken together, our main finding questions the use of the lexical decision task as an appropriate paradigm to investigate reading processes and warns against generalizing its results to word reading

  • Lexical decision task
  • Reading aloud task
  • Event Related Potential
Citation (ISO format)
MAHE, Gwendoline, ZESIGER, Pascal Eric, LAGANARO, Marina. Beyond the initial 140 ms, lexical decision and reading aloud are different tasks: An ERP study with topographic analysis. In: NeuroImage, 2015, vol. 122, p. 65–72. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.07.080
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1053-8119

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