Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Pulvermüller: Brain's language

Function and content words evoke different brain potentials

Robert M. Chapman a1
a1 Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627


Word class-specific differences in brain evoked potentials (EP) are discussed for connotative meaning and for function versus content words. A well-controlled experiment found matching lexical decision times for function and content words, but clear EP differences (component with maximum near 550 msec) among function words, content words, and nonwords that depended on brain site. Another EP component, with a 480 msec maximum, differentiated words (either function or content) from nonwords.