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The time course of processing handwritten words: An ERP investigation

Vergara-Martínez, Marta and Gutierrez-Sigut, Eva and Perea, Manuel and Gil-López, Cristina and Carreiras, Manuel (2021) 'The time course of processing handwritten words: An ERP investigation.' Neuropsychologia, 159. ISSN 0028-3932

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Abstract

Behavioral studies have shown that the legibility of handwritten script hinders visual word recognition. Furthermore, when compared with printed words, lexical effects (e.g., word-frequency effect) are magnified for less intelligible (difficult) handwriting (Barnhart & Goldinger, 2010; Perea et al., 2016). This boost has been interpreted in terms of greater influence of top-down mechanisms during visual word recognition. In the present experiment, we registered the participants' ERPs to uncover top-down processing effects on early perceptual encoding. Participants' behavioral and EEG responses were recorded to high- and low-frequency words that varied in script's legibility (printed, easy handwritten, difficult handwritten) in a lexical decision experiment. Behavioral results replicated previous findings: word-frequency effects were larger in difficult handwriting than in easy handwritten or printed conditions. Critically, the ERP data showed an early effect of word-frequency in the N170 that was restricted to the difficult-to-read handwritten condition. These results are interpreted in terms of increased attentional deployment when the bottom-up signal is weak (difficult handwritten stimuli). This attentional boost would enhance top-down effects (e.g., lexical effects) in the early stages of visual word processing.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Visual word recognition, ERPs, Handwritten word processing
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2021 13:26
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2021 17:45
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30638

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