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Title: Early auditory event-related potentials are modulated by alphabetic literacy skills in logographic Chinese readers
Authors: Zhang, Y
Pattamadilok, C
Lau, DKY 
Bakhtiar, M
Yim, LY 
Leung, KY 
Zhang, C 
Issue Date: Jul-2021
Source: Frontiers in psychology, July 2021, v. 12, 663166
Abstract: The acquisition of an alphabetic orthography transforms speech processing in the human brain. Behavioral evidence shows that phonological awareness as assessed by meta-phonological tasks like phoneme judgment, is enhanced by alphabetic literacy acquisition. The current study investigates the time-course of the neuro-cognitive operations underlying this enhancement as revealed by event-related potentials (ERPs). Chinese readers with and without proficiency in Jyutping, a Romanization system of Cantonese, were recruited for an auditory onset phoneme judgment task; their behavioral responses and the elicited ERPs were examined. Proficient readers of Jyutping achieved higher response accuracy and exhibited more negative-going ERPs in three early ERP time-windows corresponding to the P1, N1, and P2 components. The phonological mismatch negativity component exhibited sensitivity to both onset and rhyme mismatch in the speech stimuli, but it was not modulated by alphabetic literacy skills. The sustained negativity in the P1-N1-P2 time-windows is interpreted as reflecting enhanced phonetic/phonological processing or attentional/awareness modulation associated with alphabetic literacy and phonological awareness skills.
Keywords: Alphabetic orthography
Auditory onset phoneme judgment
Event-related potentials
Phonological awareness
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Journal: Frontiers in psychology 
EISSN: 1664-1078
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.663166
Rights: © 2021 Zhang, Pattamadilok, Lau, Bakhtiar, Yim, Leung and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
The following publication Zhang Y, Pattamadilok C, Lau DK-Y, Bakhtiar M, Yim L-Y, Leung K-Y and Zhang C (2021) Early Auditory Event-Related Potentials Are Modulated by Alphabetic Literacy Skills in Logographic Chinese Readers. Front. Psychol. 12:663166 is available at
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