Early access to lexical-level phonological representations of Mandarin word-forms

evidence from auditory N1 habituation

Jinxing Yue*, Kai Alter, David Howard, Roelien Bastiaanse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


An auditory habituation design was used to investigate whether lexical-level phonological representations in the brain can be rapidly accessed after the onset of a spoken word. We studied the N1 component of the auditory event-related electrical potential, and measured the amplitude decrements of N1 associated with the repetition of a monosyllabic tone word and an acoustically similar pseudo-word in Mandarin Chinese. Effects related to the contrastive onset consonants were controlled for by introducing two control words. We show that repeated pseudo-words consistently elicit greater amplitude decrements in N1 than real words. Furthermore, this lexicality effect is free from sensory fatigue or rapid learning of the pseudo-word. These results suggest that a lexical-level phonological representation of a spoken word can be accessed as early as 110 ms after the onset of the word-form.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1148-1163
Number of pages16
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • auditory N1
  • short-term habituation
  • spoken word
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • language
  • event-related potential
  • lexical access

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