Poster D55, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
The N170 ERP component differs in laterality, distribution, and association with continuous reading measures for deaf and hearing readers
Karen Emmorey1, Katherine J. Midgley1, Phillip J. Holcomb1; 1San Diego State University
The N170 ERP component is hypothesized to reflect print-tuning in skilled readers. This study investigated whether deaf and hearing readers (matched on reading ability) exhibit similar N170 patterns, given their distinct experiences learning to read. Thirty-two deaf and 32 hearing adults were presented with 60 words (e.g., TABLE) and 60 symbol strings (e.g., %$#@+) in a familiarity judgment task. We measured the amplitude of an early (130-180ms) and late (180-230ms) N170 epoch over left (LH) and right hemisphere (RH) posterior electrode sites. For the early N170 epoch, hearing readers produced substantially larger activity at temporal than occipital sites while deaf readers produced slightly larger activity at occipital sites. For the late N170 epoch, hearing readers produced larger activity for words than symbols in the LH, while deaf readers did not show an asymmetry. Linear mixed effects regression was used to examine the influence of continuous measures of reading, spelling and phonological skills on the N170 (130-230ms). For deaf readers, better reading ability was associated with a larger N170 over the RH, but for hearing readers better reading ability was associated with a smaller RH N170. Better spelling ability was strongly related to larger occipital N170s in deaf readers, but this relationship was weak in hearing readers. Better phonological awareness was associated with smaller N170s in the LH for hearing readers, but this association was weaker and in the RH for deaf readers. The results indicate that print-tuning differs for deaf and hearing readers and may be linked to different skills.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Lexicon