Impact of characteristics of L1 literacy experience on picture processing: ERP data from trilingual non-native Chinese and English readers

Yen Na Cherry YUM, Sam-Po LAW

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

Previous studies involving ex-illiterate and young readers of alphabetic scripts have shown that processing of non-verbal visual stimuli may be affected by literacy, which is attributable to intensive perceptual training during reading acquisition. This study examined whether the characteristics of one's native writing system, with respect to visual complexity and overall shape of orthographic unit, would influence the processing of pictured objects using event-related potential (ERP) with linear mixed-effects modeling. Kanji and Hangul constitute an interesting contrast as they differ in visual complexity but are similar in orthographic shape. Neural responses to pictures were analyzed in N170 and N400 reflecting ease of recognition and access to semantic representation, respectively. Trilingual speakers with Japanese or Korean as L1, who learned to read Chinese and English as non-native languages, as well as native Chinese and native English readers participated in a repetition detection task in which mixed blocks of pictures and words (Chinese or English) were presented. The overall results showed bilaterally distributed N170 and N400, and group differences in the N400 were confined to the anterior region. More importantly, Japanese readers exhibited more negative N170 and less negative N400 than Korean participants regardless of language context. The present findings have provided insights into the possible impact of reading acquisition on non-linguistic visual processing, and suggest that one's early experience of a visually complex orthography has positive transfer to processing of line drawings in terms of more efficient visual recognition and semantic access. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-225
JournalCognition
Volume183
Early online dateNov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Citation

Yum, Y. N., & Law, S.-P. (2019). Impact of characteristics of L1 literacy experience on picture processing: ERP data from trilingual non-native Chinese and English readers. Cognition, 183, 213-225. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2018.11.009

Keywords

  • Literacy experience
  • Non-verbal visual processing
  • Trilingual readers
  • Event-related potential (ERP)
  • N170
  • N400

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