Temporal dynamics of early visual word processing – Early versus late N1 sensitivity in children and adults

Eberhard-Moscicka, Aleksandra K.; Jost, Lea B.; Fehlbaum, Lynn V.; Pfenninger, Simone E.; Maurer, Urs (2016). Temporal dynamics of early visual word processing – Early versus late N1 sensitivity in children and adults. Neuropsychologia, 91, pp. 509-518. Elsevier 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.09.014

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In the course of reading development children become familiar with letter strings and learn to distinguish between lexical and non-lexical items. In previous studies, the N1 component of the ERP was shown to reflect print tuning but also to be sensitive to lexical effects. It remains unclear, however, whether these two aspects of orthographic processing occur at the same time or in different time windows during the lengthy N1 component. Moreover, it is unclear whether these processes develop late or occur already at early stages of literacy acquisition and whether this is similar for native languages and languages acquired later in life. To address these questions, 27 children were tested longitudinally, i.e. before (mean: 7.6 years) and after one year of classroom-based English instruction. Additionally, 22 adult speakers of English as a foreign language (mean: 25.1 years) were investigated. A 128-channel EEG was recorded while participants performed a one-back task with native German words, English words, pseudowords and false-font strings. The event-related EEG analysis of early and late N1 phases revealed early effects related to print tuning and late effects related to lexical processing in the native, but not in the second language of adult readers. In the absence of lexicality effects in children, print tuning effects were found across both early and late N1 segments. The temporally distinct N1 sensitivities to print and lexicality reflect temporal dynamics of visual word processing, which seem to depend on reading expertise or maturation.

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 09:25

Last Modified:

22 Oct 2019 19:18

Publisher DOI:


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