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N400-effects to task-irrelevant environmental sounds: Further evidence for obligatory conceptual processing

Authors
Journal
Neuroscience Letters
0304-3940
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
436
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.03.005
Keywords
  • Semantic Priming
  • Conceptual Processing
  • N400
  • Environmental Sounds
  • Erp
  • Automatic Processing
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Linguistics

Abstract

Abstract We assessed conceptual priming for environmental sounds in two tasks using pairs of a visually presented word (prime) and an environmental sound (probe). In the physical task, participants indicated to which ear the sound was presented. In the semantic task, participants judged whether a word labeled a sound correctly. The physical always preceded the semantic task to exclude semantic carry-over effects. In both tasks prime word color indicated whether a response was required (Go/NoGo-trials). An N400-effect for unrelated vs. related sounds was observed in all four conditions resulting from the combination of both tasks with response requirement. However, the N400-effect was reduced in the physical task and in NoGo-trials. Hence, meaning of environmental sounds may be processed obligatorily. Both automatic and controlled processes mediate the analysis of sound meaning.

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