Feb 2, 2011

ERP evidence of a meaningfulness impact on visual global/local processing: when meaning captures attention

Neuropsychologia
Virginie BeaucousinNicolas Poirel

Abstract

Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded to investigate whether the meaningfulness of experimental stimuli impacted performances during global/local visual tasks. Participants were presented with compound stimuli, based on either meaningful letters, meaningful objects, or meaningless non-objects. The ERP recordings displayed typical early components, P1 and N1, evoked by task-related processes that affected global and local processes differently according to the meaningfulness of the stimuli. The effect of meaningfulness of the stimuli during global processing showed that P1 amplitudes were larger in response to objects and non-objects compared to letters, while letters and objects elicited larger N1 amplitudes than non-objects. Second, during local processing, the mean amplitudes of the ERPs recorded for object and letter stimuli were systematically smaller than the amplitudes recorded for non-object stimuli for both P1 and N1 components. In addition, object and letter stimuli elicited comparable mean ERP responses during local processing. These results are discussed in terms of the influences of both attentional and top-down identification processes. Taken together, these findings suggested that looking for meaning is cr...Continue Reading

  • References38
  • Citations11

References

  • References38
  • Citations11

Citations

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