Selectivity of N170 for visual words in the right hemisphere: Evidence from single-trial analysis

Hang Yang, Jing Zhao, Carl M. Gaspar, Wei Chen, Yufei Tan, Xuchu Weng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies have identified the involvement of the right posterior region in the processing of visual words. Interestingly, in contrast, ERP studies of the N170 typically demonstrate selectivity for words more strikingly over the left hemisphere. Why is right hemisphere selectivity for words during the N170 epoch typically not observed, despite the clear involvement of this region in word processing? One possibility is that amplitude differences measured on averaged ERPs in previous studies may have been obscured by variation in peak latency across trials. This study examined this possibility by using single-trial analysis. Results show that words evoked greater single-trial N170s than control stimuli in the right hemisphere. Additionally, we observed larger trial-to-trial variability on N170 peak latency for words as compared to control stimuli over the right hemisphere. Results demonstrate that, in contrast to much of the prior literature, the N170 can be selective to words over the right hemisphere. This discrepancy is explained in terms of variability in trial-to-trial peak latency for responses to words over the right hemisphere.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1128-1137
Number of pages10
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • N170
  • right hemisphere
  • selectivity
  • single-trial analysis
  • word recognition


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