Effects of orthographic consistency and homophone density on Chinese spoken word recognition

Wei Fan Chen, Pei Chun Chao, Ya Ning Chang, Chun Hsien Hsu, Chia Ying Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Studies of alphabetic language have shown that orthographic knowledge influences phonological processing during spoken word recognition. This study utilized the Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) to differentiate two types of phonology-to-orthography (P-to-O) mapping consistencies in Chinese, namely homophone density and orthographic consistency. The ERP data revealed an orthographic consistency effect in the frontal-centrally distributed N400, and a homophone density effect in central-posteriorly distributed late positive component (LPC). Further source analyses using the standardized low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) demonstrated that the orthographic effect was not only localized in the frontal and temporal-parietal regions for phonological processing, but also in the posterior visual cortex for orthographic processing, while the homophone density effect was found in middle temporal gyrus for lexical-semantic selection, and in the temporal-occipital junction for orthographic processing. These results suggest that orthographic information not only shapes the nature of phonological representations, but may also be activated during on-line spoken word recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalBrain and Language
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • ERPs
  • Homophone density
  • Orthographic consistency
  • Spoken word recognition


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