VISION, CENTRALParafoveal versus foveal N400s dissociate spreading activation from contextual fitKretzschmar, Franziskaa b; Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Inac d; Schlesewsky, Matthiasa Author Information aDepartment of English and Linguistics, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz bGraduate Program NeuroAct ‘Neuronal Representation and Action Control’, University of Marburg, Marburg cDepartment of Germanic Linguistics, University of Marburg, Marburg dResearch Group Neurotypology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany Correspondence to Professor Matthias Schlesewsky, PhD, Department of English and Linguistics, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz Jakob-Welder-Weg 18, Mainz 55099, Germany Tel: +49 6131 3923478; fax: +49 6131 3923836; e-mail: [email protected] This study was carried out at the Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany. Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Website (www.neuroreport.com). Received 14 August 2009 accepted 7 September 2009 NeuroReport: December 9, 2009 - Volume 20 - Issue 18 - p 1613-1618 doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328332c4f4 Buy SDC Metrics Abstract Using concurrent electroencephalogram and eye movement measures to track natural reading, this study shows that N400 effects reflecting predictability are dissociable from those owing to spreading activation. In comparing predicted sentence endings with related and unrelated unpredicted endings in antonym constructions (‘the opposite of black is white/yellow/nice’), fixation-related potentials at the critical word revealed a predictability-based N400 effect (unpredicted vs. predicted words). By contrast, event-related potentials time locked to the last fixation before the critical word showed an N400 only for the nonrelated unpredicted condition (nice). This effect is attributed to a parafoveal mismatch between the critical word and preactivated lexical features (i.e. features of the predicted word and its associates). In addition to providing the first demonstration of a parafoveally induced N400 effect, our results support the view that the N400 is best viewed as a component family. © 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.