Topography of visual event-related potentials during geometric and phonetic discriminations

D Lovrich, R Simson, H G Vaughan, W Ritter
Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 1986, 65 (1): 1-12
Event-related potentials (ERPs) were obtained to letters during 3 tasks that involved a SIMPLE RESPONSE (SR) to each letter presentation, a FORM discrimination of the letters that formed a closed loop, and a RHYME discrimination of the letters that rhymed with the letter 'v'. The first task only required detection of the letters, the FORM task required a visual-spatial analysis, and the RHYME task, a grapheme-phoneme conversion of the letters followed by a determination of rhyming characteristics. The SR ERPs were morphologically different from the discriminative ERPs, notably by the absence of N2 and P3. The difference wave forms between the discrimination and SR conditions and between the targets and non-targets indicated differential topographies of components associated with the FORM and RHYME tasks in the 300 msec latency region. In both of these tasks, components exhibited distributions localized primarily in the occipital regions, whereas in the RHYME task they extended more anteriorly and encompassed temporo-parietal regions. Thus, although the stimulus presentation was visual, the requirement of a visual-auditory conversion in the RHYME task resulted in activity that was more proximal to auditory regions than when only a FORM analysis of the letters was required.

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