The formation of an object's cortical representation seems to rely on synchronized neuronal activity within the gamma band frequency range (gamma band activity [GBA]). In this study, we investigated whether electroencephalogram (EEG) GBA, and its phase synchronization between electrodes, is necessary for the formation of nonobject higher-order cognitive representations, using both repetition and homophone priming tasks. In a repetition priming task, the formation of orthographic, phonological, and semantic representations is promoted by a prime word, whereas in the homophone priming task, the formation of only phonological representations is promoted. In the present study, the lexical processing of a target word induced GBA. In the repetition priming task, induced GBA and phase synchronization were decreased by presentation of the prime word (i.e., a repetition suppression effect) within both 200–300 msec and 400–500 msec time windows. In the homophone priming task, the repetition suppression effect was observed only within the 400–500 msec time window. The fact that repetition suppression effects were found in both priming tasks indicates that GBA and phase synchronization are necessary for the formation of phonological and semantic representations of a word. These results also suggest that formation of orthographic and higher-order cognitive representations occurred over different time courses.

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