Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Evaluation of reading comprehension with neuropsychological and event-related brain potential (ERP) methods

RYAN C.N.  D'ARCY a1, JOHN F.  CONNOLLY a1a2c1 and GAIL A.  ESKES a1a2a3
a1 Cognitive/Clinical Neuroscience Unit, Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University
a2 Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University
a3 Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre


Evidence is presented for the efficacy of a new method of assessing reading comprehension using a standardized reading test that was formatted for computer presentation with simultaneous event-related brain potential (ERP) recordings. Reading comprehension abilities of 23 healthy undergraduate students were evaluated using ERPs. The results revealed a differential ERP response pattern for correct and incorrect test items. These response patterns were observed at individual participant levels. The findings provided further support for the use of ERPs in the neuropsychological assessment of patients who are difficult or impossible to assess using behavioral responses because of concomitant motoric and/or communicative limitations. (JINS, 2000, 6, 556–567.)

(Received October 1 1998)
(Revised July 14 1999)
(Accepted September 3 1999)

Key Words: Assessment; Reading; Event-related brain potentials; Psycholinguistic assessments of language processing in aphasia.

c1 Reprint requests to: John F. Connolly, Cognitive/Clinical Neuroscience Unit, Department of Psychology, Life Sciences Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4J1, Canada. E-mail: or