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Knowledge inhibition and N400: a study with words that look like common words

Knowledge inhibition and N400: a study with words that look like common words

Brain and Language 62(2): 202-220

In addition to their own representations, low frequency words, such as BRIBE, can covertly activate the representations of higher frequency words they look like (e.g., BRIDE). Hence, look-alike words can activate knowledge that is incompatible with the knowledge corresponding to accurate representations. Comparatively, eccentric words, that is, low frequency words that do not look as much like higher frequency words, are less likely to activate incompatible knowledge. This study focuses on the hypothesis that the N400 component of the event-related potential reflects the inhibition of incompatible knowledge. This hypothesis predicts that look-alike words elicit N400s of greater amplitudes than eccentric words in conditions where incompatible knowledge is inhibited. Results from a single item lexical decision experiment are reported which support the inhibition hypothesis.

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Accession: 046508304

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 9576822

DOI: 10.1006/brln.1997.1904

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