Extending the N400 effect to the spatial domain.

Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Natalie Russo


Event Related Potential, Multisensory, N400, Spatial Congrency

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


The N400 is an ERP component that is linked to the processing of meaning. Past research has shown that the N400 can be elicited by a range of different paradigms that use many different stimulus types. The present study investigated whether the N400 could be elicited by multisensory spatially congruent and incongruent stimuli. We recorded electrophysiological activity from the scalp of participant's while they were completing a task that required them to decide if an auditory and a visual stimulus were presented on the same, or different sides of space. In line with previous research, behavioral data showed that for the condition where the sound and picture were on different sides of space, participants were significantly slower to respond in comparison to when the sound and picture were presented on the same side of space. Extending the literature on the N400 component, we found a N400 effect at frontal electrodes. Incongruent multisensory stimuli (sound and picture on different sides of space) elicited a significantly more negative mean amplitude than spatially congruent multisensory stimuli (sound and picture on same side of space). No early auditory or visual differences (N1/P1) were found. The current study extends the literature on the N400 by demonstrating that it can be elicited in response to multisensory spatial congruence paradigm which uses stimuli that do not have an inherent meaning.


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