Table of Contents
ISRN Neuroscience
Volume 2013, Article ID 579216, 6 pages
Research Article

The Special Role of Higher-Frequency Neighbors at the Phonological Level: An Event-Related Potential Study of Chinese Character Naming

1Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 16 Lincui Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
2Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3Centre for Psychology Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China

Received 9 May 2013; Accepted 2 June 2013

Academic Editors: E. C. Muly and S. Rampp

Copyright © 2013 Jing Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present study explored the time course of neighborhood frequency effect at the early processing stages, examining whether orthographic neighbors with higher frequency exerted an influence on target processing especially at the phonological stage by using the event-related potential (ERP). Thirteen undergraduate students were recruited in this study, and they were required to covertly name Chinese characters with or without higher-frequency neighbors (HFNs); meanwhile, their brain activity was recorded. Results showed that the effect of neighborhood frequency was significant in frontocentral P2 amplitude, with a reduction for naming characters with HFNs compared to those without HFNs; while there was no effect in posterior N1 amplitude. The only neighborhood frequency effect in P2 component suggested a special role for the HFNs in phonological access of  Chinese characters. The decrease in amplitude for naming with-HFN characters might be associated with the phonological interference of higher-frequency neighbors due to their different pronunciations from the target characters.