Poster D75, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Neural changes following short-term visual word recognition training
Sophia van Hees1,2, Penny M Pexman1,2, Sage Brown1, Andrea B Protzner1,2; 1University of Calgary, Department of Psychology, 2Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary
Introduction: Previous behavioural studies suggest that the efficiency of the visual word recognition system can be improved with short-term training. The current study examined the neural changes underlying such enhancements in visual word processing. Methods: 20 healthy young adults (20-28yrs; 11 males) completed approximately 16 hours of training over 7-10 days. The training involved a visual lexical decision task (LDT) using words and pronounceable nonwords. We recorded EEGs at the beginning, middle, and end of training. Behaviourally, we analysed training-induced changes in reaction times using repeated measures ANOVAs. To examine neural changes, we performed Partial Least Squares (PLS) analysis on the ERP data. Results: Behaviourally, participants were significantly faster at correctly responding to both words and nonwords following training. Analysis of the ERP waveforms revealed greater N170 amplitudes in bilateral posterior electrodes following training, as well as reduced P600 amplitudes in centro-parietal electrodes. Discussion: The behavioural results replicate previous studies showing that short-term training improves the efficiency of visual word recognition. Greater amplitudes in the N170 component suggest that training enhanced early visual-orthographic processing, in line with previous studies examining reading skill. In contrast, decreased amplitudes in the P600 component suggest reduced access to stored representations of words. Taken together, the results suggest that, following training, participants relied more on perceptual processing of the stimuli, and less upon the language network.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other