Stimulus onset asynchrony and the timeline of word recognition: event-related potentials during sentence reading
journal contributionposted on 25.01.2016, 09:27 by Michael Dambacher, O. Dimigen, M. Braun, K. Wille, A. M. Jacobs, R. Kliegl
Three ERP experiments examined the effect of word presentation rate (i.e., stimulus onset asynchrony, SOA) on the time course of word frequency and predictability effects in sentence reading. In Experiments 1 and 2, sentences were presented word-by-word in the screen center at an SOA of 700 and 490 ms, respectively. While these rates are typical for psycholinguistic ERP research, natural reading happens at a considerably faster pace. Accordingly, Experiment 3 employed a near-normal SOA of 280 ms, which approximated the rate of normal reading. Main results can be summarized as follows: (1) The onset latency of early frequency effects decreases gradually with increasing presentation rates. (2) An early interaction between top-down and bottom-up processing is observed only under a near-normal SOA. (3) N400 predictability effects occur later and are smaller at a near-normal (i.e., high) presentation rate than at the lower rates commonly used in ERP experiments. (4) ERP morphology is different at the shortest compared to longer SOAs. Together, the results point to a special role of a near-normal presentation rate for visual word recognition and therefore suggest that SOA should be taken into account in research of natural reading.