The different time courses of reading different levels of Chinese characters: An ERP study

Qilin Lu, Yi Yuan Tang, Li Zhou, Qingbao Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The dual route processing was generally accepted in the reading of alphabetic languages, which suggests alphabetic words can be read by either addressed pathway or assembled pathway. However, it was still unclear whether there was a particular 'dual route mechanism' during reading Chinese characters. In our previous fMRI study, the result showed that there might be a particular 'dual route mechanism', and its addressed pathway was similar between Chinese and English, whereas for the need of spatial analysis, the assembled pathway of Chinese was different from that of English which involved grapheme-to-phoneme correspondences. The present study, using event-related potential, which provide more temporal information, aimed to further support our previous view, and peered inside the different time courses of reading different types of Chinese characters. It was found that reading high frequency Chinese characters increased the N170 component which was believed to enhance attention to the addressed pathway in the left occipital-temporal area. Pseudo Chinese characters could be read by a particular assembled pathway, which caused the largest amplitude of P320 component in the right occipital-temporal area, which considered as a key brain area for radical analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-198
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 12 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese character
  • Dual route mechanism
  • ERP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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