How Order of Label Presentation Impacts Semantic Processing: an ERP Study

Abstract

In this study, we wanted to investigate whether the processing of semantic information is easier when mapping names to pictures or is it the other way around. In order to test this hypothesis, we ran a behavioral and an ERP (Event Related Potential) study, with specific interest in the N400 component as an indicator of semantic processing. We compared three groups of participants who did a match/mismatch task with the only difference being that the labels would appear before, after or simultaneously with the pictures. Not surprisingly, the hardest condition was the one with two information presented simultaneously. The amplitude of the N400 was more prominent when labels were presented after the pictures in comparison to the condition where labels preceded picture presentation, suggesting that this second experimental situation led to smaller violation of expectation for our participants (word to picture condition) in comparison to mapping pictures to words.


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