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How words and semantic are stored in the brain? (WORD-SEM STORE)
Start date: Feb 3, 2013, End date: Feb 2, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Reading consists in establishing a correspondence between the physical form of the printed word and a semantic interpretation stored in the permanent memory. This project will investigate in greater detail how this orthographic form information, called lexical representation, is mapped onto word concepts, called semantic representations. In other words, how these two qualitatively different codes are stored and interconnected in the brain. This will be carried out considering readers that have more than one lexical representation for each concept, bilinguals for instance (i.e., table in English, mesa in Spanish). That is, the present proposal poses itself as a bridge linking two main research areas in visual word recognition: monolinguals’ versus bilinguals’ processing. In this project, characteristics of words, such as number of orthographic neighbors (e.g., lift - list), which tap directly into lexical representations level, and number of associates (e.g., table - chair), which tap directly into semantic representations level, will be manipulated. Contrary to monolinguals for who one specific orthographic form is mapped onto one specific semantic representation, bilinguals have two different orthographic codes that can be mapped onto a single semantic representation. Combining behavioral measures from cognitive psychology with neuro-imaging methodologies (EEG and MEG) will provide new insights into time-course of brain region activation as monolinguals and bilinguals process language. For each study, three different populations (monolinguals, unbalanced bilinguals and balanced bilinguals) will be compared in order to investigate the impact of level of knowledge in the second language during the processing of word recognition. This multi-methodological and multi-population based approach is one of the keys of the present research and will provide the foundation for a general framework of skilled reading."
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