Aging-Related Dissociation of Spatial and Temporal N400 in Sentence-Level Semantic Processing: Evidence From Source Analyses

Sora An, Se Jin Oh, Sang Beom Jun, Jee Eun Sung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Age-related differences in sentence-level lexical-semantic processes have been extensively studied, based on the N400 component of event-related potential (ERP). However, there is still a lack of understanding in this regard at the brain-region level. This study explores aging effects on sentence-level semantic processing by comparing the characteristics of the N400 ERP component and brain engagement patterns within individual N400 time windows for two age groups (16 younger adults aged 24.38 ± 3.88 years and 15 older adults aged 67.00 ± 5.04 years) during sentence processing with different plausibility conditions. Our results demonstrated that the N400 effect according to the plausibility condition occurred in different temporal windows in the two age groups, with a delay in the older group. Moreover, it was identified that there was a distinct difference between the groups in terms of the source location of the condition-dependent N400 effect even though no significant difference was derived in its magnitude itself at the sensor-level. Interestingly, the source analysis results indicated that the two groups involved different functional networks to resolve the same semantic violations: the younger group activated the regions corresponding to the typical lexical-semantic network more, whereas the older group recruited the regions belonging to the multiple-demand network more. The findings of this study could be used as a basis for understanding the aging brain in a linguistic context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number877235
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2022


  • aging
  • brain network
  • event-related potential
  • semantic processing
  • sentence processing
  • source analysis


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