Tsinghua Science and Technology


audio-visual speech, auditory noise, audio-visual integration, Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR)


N400 is an objective electrophysiological index in semantic processing for brain. This study focuses on the sensitivity of N400 effect during speech comprehension under the uni- and bi- modality conditions. Varying the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of speech signal under the conditions of Audio-only (A), Visual-only (V, i.e., lip-reading), and Audio-Visual (AV), the semantic priming paradigm is used to evoke N400 effect and measure the speech recognition rate. For the conditions A and high SNR AV, the N400 amplitudes in the central region are larger; for the conditions of V and low SNR AV, the N400 amplitudes in the left-frontal region are larger. The N400 amplitudes of frontal and central regions under the conditions of A, AV, and V are consistent with speech recognition rate of behavioral results. These results indicate that audio-cognition is better than visual-cognition at high SNR, and visual-cognition is better than audio-cognition at low SNR.