Words and pseudowords elicit distinct patterns of 30-Hz EEG responses in humans

Werner Lutzenberger, Friedemann Pulvermüller, Niels Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Meaningful words, such as moon, and physically similar but meaningless pseudowords, such as noom, were presented visually in a lexical decision task. The EEG was recorded from 17 scalp electrodes. Significant differences between both stimulus classes were observed in evoked spectral responses of the 'γ-band' ∼30 Hz. A hemisphere by wordness interaction demonstrated that 30-Hz spectral power over the left hemisphere was reduced after pseudowords only. These results indicate that γ-band responses reflect the different cognitive processes induced by words and pseudowords. A possible explanation is the following. Synchronous activation of large cortical cell assemblies takes place after word presentation but not after presentation of pseudowords.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-118
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 18 1994


  • 30 Hz
  • Cell assembly
  • Cognitive
  • EEG
  • Evoked spectral response
  • Language
  • Lexical processing
  • γ-Band

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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