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Electrophysiological evidence for colour effects on the naming of colour diagnostic and noncolour diagnostic objects

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In this study, we investigated the level of visual processing at which surface colour information improves the naming of colour diagnostic and noncolour diagnostic objects. Continuous electroencephalograms were recorded while participants performed a visual object naming task in which coloured and black-and-white versions of both types of objects were presented. The black-and-white and the colour presentations were compared in two groups of event-related potentials (ERPs): (1) The P1 and N1 components, indexing early visual processing; and (2) the N300 and N400 components, which index late visual processing. A colour effect was observed in the P1 and N1 components, for both colour and noncolour diagnostic objects. In addition, for colour diagnostic objects, a colour effect was observed in the N400 component. These results suggest that colour information is important for the naming of colour and noncolour diagnostic objects at different levels of visual processing. It thus appears that the visual system uses colour information, during naming of both object types, at early visual stages; however, for the colour diagnostic objects naming, colour information is also recruited during the late visual processing stages.
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Keywords: Colour diagnosticity; Colour information; Object naming; Perceptual processing; Semantic processing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group, Departamento de Psicologia, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais, and Institute of Biotechnology and Bioengineering/CBME, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal

Publication date: 01 December 2012

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