We report an event-related potential study investigating the neural basis of interference and facilitation in the picture-word interference paradigm with immediate overt naming. We used the high temporal resolution of the electrophysiological response to dissociate general and specific interference processes, by comparing unrelated word distractors to nonlinguistic (a row of Xs), surface feature denoting, and category member distractors. Our results first indicate that the increased naming latencies for linguistic relative to nonlinguistic distractors are because of general conflict-monitoring processes, associated with early event-related potential effects (120-220 ms) and increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex. Next, distractors specifying a surface feature of the picture seem to facilitate its identification within the same time window, which involves widespread networks. Finally, nonlinguistic and surface feature distractors also reduced the N400 amplitude, relative to unrelated word distractors. Taken together our results support the view that several distinct processes give rise to the reaction time results often observed in picture naming.
Hirschfeld, G., Jansma-Schmitt, B. M., Bolte, J., & Zwitserlood, P. (2008). Interference and facilitation in overt speech production investigated with event-related potentials. Neuroreport, 19(12), 1227-1230. https://doi.org/10.1097/WNR.0b013e328309ecd1