Word and picture processing in children: An event-related potential study

Donna Coch, Leeza Maron, Maryanne Wolf, Phillip J. Holcomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


In an investigation of the N400 component, event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited by 4 types of word stimuli (real words, pseudowords, random letter strings, and false fonts) and 3 types of picture stimuli (real pictures, pseudopictures, and picture parts) presented in separate lists were recorded from 10- and 11-year-old children. All types of word stimuli elicited an anteriorly distributed negativity peaking at about 400 msec (antN400). Words and pseudowords elicited similar ERPs, whereas ERPs to letter strings differed from those to both pseudowords and false fonts. All types of picture stimuli elicited dual anterior negativities (N350 and N430). Real pictures and pseudopictures elicited similar ERPs, whereas pseudopictures and picture parts elicited asymmetrical processing. The results are discussed in terms of increased sensitivity to and dependence on context in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-406
Number of pages34
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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