The present study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to examine the time course of visual word recognition using a masked repetition priming paradigm. Participants monitored target words for occasional animal names, and ERPs were recorded to nonanimal critical items that were full repetitions, partial repetitions, or unrelated to the immediately preceding masked prime word. The results showed a strong modulation of the N400 and three earlier ERP components (P150, N250, and the P325) that we propose reflect sequential overlapping steps in the processing of printed words.

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