An event-related brain potential experiment was carried out to investigate the time course of contextual influences on spoken-word recognition. Subjects were presented with spoken sentences that ended with a word that was either (a) congruent, (b) semantically anomalous, but beginning with the same initial phonemes as the congruent completion, or (c) semantically anomalous beginning with phonemes that differed from the congruent completion. In addition to finding an N400 effect in the two semantically anomalous conditions, we obtained an early negative effect in the semantically anomalous condition where word onset differed from that of the congruent completions. It was concluded that the N200 effect is related to the lexical selection process, where word-form information resulting from an initial phonological analysis and content information derived from the context interact.

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