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N250 effects for letter transpositions depend on lexicality: ‘casual’ or ‘causal’?

Duñabeitia, Jon Andonia; Molinaro, Nicolaa; Laka, Itziarb; Estévez, Adelinaa; Carreiras, Manuelc a

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e3283249b1c

We examined the electrophysiological correlates of one of the most influential orthographic effects: the transposed-letter-masked priming effect. Transposed-letter nonword–word pairs (‘jugde–judge’), as well as transposed-letter word–word pairs (‘casual–causal’) were included to investigate the influence of prime's lexicality in the transposed-letter effect. The results showed that when compared with the substituted-letter control conditions (‘jugde–judge’ vs. ‘jupte–judge’), transposed-letter primes produced a lower negativity in the N250 component. In contrast, no differences were obtained between the two word–word priming conditions (‘casual–causal’ vs. ‘carnal–causal’). The influence of lexicality in the transposed-letter effect is discussed according to the models of visual word recognition and previous evidence from event-related potentials.

aInstituto de Tecnologías Biomédicas, University of La Laguna, La Laguna

bUniversity of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz

cBasque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Donostia, Spain

Correspondence to Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, Departamento de Psicología Cognitiva, Instituto de Tecnologías Biomédicas, Universidad de La Laguna, La Laguna, Tenerife 38205, Spain

Tel: +34 6786 35223; fax: +34 9223 17461; email:

Received 27 November 2008 accepted 30 November 2008

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.