The spatiotemporal dynamics of morphological, orthographic, and semantic processing were investigated in a primed lexical decision task in French using magnetoencephalography (MEG). The goal was to investigate orthographic and semantic contributions to morphological priming and compare these effects with pure orthographic and semantic priming. The time course of these effects was analyzed in anatomically defined ROIs that were selected according to previous MEG and fMRI findings. The results showed that morphological processing was not localized in one specific area but distributed over a vast network that involved left inferior temporal gyrus, left superior temporal gyrus, left inferior frontal gyrus, and left orbitofrontal gyrus. Second, all morphological effects were specific, that is, in none of the ROIs could morphology effects be explained by pure orthographic or pure semantic overlap. Third, the ventral route was sensitive to both the orthographic and semantic “part” of the morphological priming effect in the M350 time window. Fourth, the earliest effects of morphology occurred in left superior temporal gyrus around 250 msec and reflected the semantic contribution to morphological facilitation. Together then, the present results show that morphological processing is not just an emergent property of processing form or meaning and that semantic contributions to morphological facilitation can occur as early as 250 msec in the left superior temporal gyrus.

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