Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neurological process for the recognition of letters and numbers explained

Date:
August 12, 2010
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
How does the brain link the visual basic traits of letters and numbers to abstract representations and to words? Scientists have analyzed the influence of context on the visual recognition of a written word regardless of the format in which these letters may be displayed.

Scientists from the Basque Research Center on Cognition, Brain and Language have analyzed the influence of context on the visual recognition of a written word regardless of the format in which these letters may be displayed.
Credit: Elebilab

How does the brain link the visual basic traits of letters and numbers to abstract representations and to words? Scientists from the Basque Research Center on Cognition, Brain and Language have analyzed the influence of context on the visual recognition of a written word regardless of the format in which these letters may be displayed.

Related Articles


"We analyzed the influence of the context given by a word when linking the physical traits of its components to the abstract representations of letters," explains Nicola Molinaro, main author of the study and researcher of the Basque Research Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL).

The results, published in Neuropsychologia journal, show that the linguistic context given by a word impacts the way in which single abstract representations of the letters that make it up are accessed, and that such access is partially independent from the physical properties of the stimuli.

"Otherwise, it would not be possible to think that a number can activate the representation of a letter when it is inserted among a string of letters that make up a word (M4T3R14L)," says Molinaro.

"We used numbers that visually resemble letters (1-I, 5-S, 7-T), and we replaced them," states the expert. The words were presented to participants during tenths of milliseconds (imperceptible to consciousness). Then, the correct words where shown so that participants could read them (for example, M4T3R14L -- MATERIAL). Control strings including numbers explicitly different to letters (M9T6R26L- MATERIAL) and word identity (MATERIAL- MATERIAL) were also included.

The brain responds in three different ways

While participants read the words in silence, scientists recorded brain potentials associated to events (ERPs), which showed three main effects. The first one is that, over the 150 ms window, identical strings and strings including visually similar numbers, compared to control strings, caused a reduction in positivity, that is, in the ease of recognition.

"This effect shows that in the case of strings with letter-like numbers, the link between the visual physical representations of numbers and the abstract representations of correct letters is made automatically, given the visual overlapping among characters," points out the neuroscientist.

A second effect confirmed, at the 200 ms window, greater negativity for number conditions (M4T3R14L and M9T6R26L). "The brain recognizes that the elements that make up the strings presented unconsciously are in fact numbers, not letters, showing some specificity in the processing despite the initial visual overlapping found in the above component," he assures.

Lastly, 250 ms after the display of strings, the conditions of identity and visually letter-like numbers showed a very similar positive effect, clearly different from the effect caused by the strings with numbers that were visually different from letters (control).

"The global processing of words is very similar for strings that include letters that are properly written and for those including numbers that are visually similar to letters," concludes Molinaro.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Molinaro et al. From numbers to letters: Feedback regularization in visual word recognition. Neuropsychologia, 2010; 48 (5): 1343 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.12.037

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Neurological process for the recognition of letters and numbers explained." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100726085428.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2010, August 12). Neurological process for the recognition of letters and numbers explained. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100726085428.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Neurological process for the recognition of letters and numbers explained." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100726085428.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins