Integration of Spoken and Written Words in Beginning Readers: A Topographic ERP Study

Jost, Lea B.; Eberhard-Moscicka, Aleksandra K.; Frisch, Christine; Dellwo, Volker; Maurer, Urs (2014). Integration of Spoken and Written Words in Beginning Readers: A Topographic ERP Study. Brain topography, 27(6), pp. 786-800. Springer 10.1007/s10548-013-0336-4

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Integrating visual and auditory language information is critical for reading. Suppression and congruency effects in audiovisual paradigms with letters and speech sounds have provided information about low-level mechanisms of grapheme-phoneme integration during reading. However, the central question about how such processes relate to reading entire words remains unexplored. Using ERPs, we investigated whether audiovisual integration occurs for words already in beginning readers, and if so, whether this integration is reflected by differences in map strength or topography (aim 1); and moreover, whether such integration is associated with reading fluency (aim 2). A 128-channel EEG was recorded while 69 monolingual (Swiss)-German speaking first-graders performed a detection task with rare targets. Stimuli were presented in blocks either auditorily (A), visually (V) or audiovisually (matching: AVM; nonmatching: AVN). Corresponding ERPs were computed, and unimodal ERPs summated (A + V = sumAV). We applied TANOVAs to identify time windows with significant integration effects: suppression (sumAV–AVM) and congruency (AVN–AVM). They were further characterized using GFP and 3D-centroid analyses, and significant effects were correlated with reading fluency. The results suggest that audiovisual suppression effects occur for familiar German and unfamiliar English words, whereas audiovisual congruency effects can be found only for familiar German words, probably due to lexical-semantic processes involved. Moreover, congruency effects were characterized by topographic differences, indicating that different sources are active during processing of congruent compared to incongruent audiovisual words. Furthermore, no clear associations between audiovisual integration and reading fluency were found. The degree to which such associations develop in beginning readers remains open to further investigation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Eberhard-Moscicka, Aleksandra Katarzyna


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Angela Amira Botros

Date Deposited:

03 Oct 2019 09:15

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 04:37

Publisher DOI:


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