Electrophysiological investigation of the functional overlap between semantic and equivalence relations

Renato Bortoloti, Naiene Pimentel, Julio C. de Rose
2014 Psychology and Neuroscience  
Recent research using the event-related potential (ERP) technique has shown that equivalence relations have properties similar to genuine semantic relations. This study aimed to advance electrophysiological investigations of the functional overlap between semantic and equivalence relations. The N400 component, an index of semantic processing, was used to measure whether semantic relations were experimentally established between arbitrary stimuli. The stimuli became equivalent via a
more » ... via a matching-to-sample training designed to maximize the establishment of equivalence relations and the strength of the classes. Non-equivalent pairs of stimuli elicited larger N400 responses than equivalent pairs in electrodes placed over the central and parietal scalp regions, providing additional support for the assumption that stimulus equivalence is an appropriate model of semantic relations. Latency of the N400 component was shorter than in previous studies, probably due to experimental parameters that maximized relational strength. These data raise the possibility that N400 latency may provide a continuous measure of relational strength, thus supplementing the all-or-none character of equivalence tests based on matching to sample.
doi:10.3922/j.psns.2014.015 fatcat:5hvxouwgivbq7d5rxntxcs62im