Kanji Perception and Brain Function

Kanji Perception and Brain Function

Ichiro Shimoyama (Chiba University, Japan), Hitoshi Shimada (National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Japan) and Toshiaki Ninchoji (Suzukake Hospital, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2113-8.ch027
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The semantic processing involved in the visual perception of Chinese characters (Kanji) was studied using electroencephalograms. Thirty concrete Kanji, 30 absolute Kanji and a closed circle were used in a tachistoscopic presentation, wherein one character or a circle was displayed at random for 35 ms, and visual evoked potentials were recorded. The test subjects were11 native Japanese speakers. The concrete Kanji were familiar objects and highly imaginable characters such as a dog, a cat, a cow, etc. The absolute Kanji were familiar Kanji but represented concepts that are difficult to imagine, such as nothing, what, existing, et cetera. P100, N160, P230, and N320 were noted on the evoked potentials. The bilateral posterior temporal lobes and the bilateral occipital lobes were activated for the concrete Kanji at approximately 320ms after the onset of the visual stimuli (P<0.001 by multiple analysis of variance).
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Figure 1 shows the total averaged visual evoked potentials for HIKs (thick traces), LIKs (thin traces), and CC (dotted traces). Peaks were noted at 100ms positively (P100), at 160 ms negatively (N160), at 230ms positively (P230) and at 320ms negatively (N320).

Figure 1.

Total averaged visual evoked potentials for high-imaginable Kanji (thick traces), low-imaginable Kanji (thin traces), and a closed circle (dotted traces). The abscissa represents a time course and the ordinate represents microvolt negative up.


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