Detection of deviance in Japanese kanji compound words

Yuka Egashira, Yoshimi Kaga, Atsuko Gunji, Yosuke Kita, Motohiro Kimura, Naruhito Hironaga, Hiroshige Takeichi, Sayuri Hayashi, Yuu Kaneko, Hidetoshi Takahashi, Takashi Hanakawa, Takashi Okada, Masumi Inagaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reading fluency is based on the automatic visual recognition of words. As a manifestation of the automatic processing of words, an automatic deviance detection of visual word stimuli can be observed in the early stages of visual recognition. To clarify whether this phenomenon occurs with Japanese kanji compounds—since their lexicality is related to semantic association—we investigated the brain response by utilizing three types of deviants: differences in font type, lexically correct or incorrect Japanese kanji compound words and pseudo-kanji characters modified from correct and incorrect compounds. We employed magnetoencephalography (MEG) to evaluate the spatiotemporal profiles of the related brain regions. The study included 22 adult native Japanese speakers (16 females). The abovementioned three kinds of stimuli containing 20% deviants were presented during the MEG measurement. Activity in the occipital pole region of the brain was observed upon the detection of font-type deviance within 250 ms of stimulus onset. Although no significant activity upon detecting lexically correct/incorrect kanji compounds or pseudo-kanji character deviations was observed, the activity in the posterior transverse region of the collateral sulcus (pCoS)—which is a fusiform neighboring area—was larger when detecting lexically correct kanji compounds than when detecting pseudo-kanji characters. Taken together, these results support the notion that the automatic detection of deviance in kanji compounds may be limited to a low-level feature, such as the stimulus stroke thickness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number913945
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug 15


  • MEG
  • automatic processing
  • kanji compounds
  • lexical processing
  • parafoveal vision
  • reading ability
  • visual word processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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