Processing Visual Words With Numbers: Electrophysiological Evidence for Semantic Activation Public Deposited

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  • Perea, Duñabeitia, and Carreiras (2008) found that LEET stimuli, formed by a mixture of digits and letters (e.g., “T4BL3” instead of “TABLE”), produced similar priming effects as regular words. This finding led them to conclude that LEET stimuli automatically activate lexical information. The present study examined whether semantic activation occurs for LEET stimuli using an electrophysiological measure called the N400 effect. The N400 effect, also known as mismatch negativity, reflects detection of a mismatch between a word and the current semantic context. This N400 effect can occur only if the LEET stimulus has been identified and processed semantically. Participants determined whether a stimulus (word or LEET) was related to a given category (e.g., “APPLE” or “4PPL3” belongs to the category “fruit” but “TABLE” or “T4BL3” does not). We found that LEET stimuli produced an N400 effect similar in magnitude to that for regular uppercase words, suggesting that LEET stimuli can access meaning in a similar manner to words presented in consistent uppercase letters.
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  • Lien, M. C., Allen, P., & Martin, N. (2014). Processing visual words with numbers: Electrophysiological evidence for semantic activation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21(4), 1056-1066. doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0581-x
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  • 21
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  • 4
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