The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of lexical context on the latency and the amplitude of the mismatch negativity (MMN) brain potential caused by perception of pseudowords. The eventrelated potentials were recorded according to the multideviant passive odd-ball paradigm by using only pseudowords (control condition) or pseudowords with Russian words with different lexical frequencies (lexical context). It was found that different MMN patterns were generated when the same pseudoword was presented in different contexts. Pseudoword presentation in a context with other pseudowords resulted in a relatively small amplitude and large latency of MMN. If the same pseudoword was presented in a context with words, it induced significantly increased amplitude and reduced latency of MMN varying in the range of 100–200 ms. It is supposed that the pseudoword presented in a context with words is perceived as conceptually different stimulus, which leads to a significant increase in MMN. Moreover, our findings support the hypothesis that MMN is affected by lexical frequency. In particular, presentation of a high-frequency word induced a significantly more pronounced MMN response than a low-frequency one. High-frequency words also evoked earlier response, which indicates more rapid access to a frequently used lexical entry. More frequent use of certain words results in stronger internal connections in the corresponding memory circuit, which in turn is determined by the lexical context. We hypothesize that different intensities of activation depends on the strength of lexical representation.
Human Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2017
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