A left-lateralized network for reading Chinese words: A 3T fMRI study

Institute of Neuroscience, National Yang Ming University, T’ai-pei, Taipei, Taiwan
Neuroreport (Impact Factor: 1.52). 01/2002; 12(18):3997-4001. DOI: 10.1097/00001756-200112210-00029
Source: PubMed


fMRI was used to investigate brain organization for reading in Chinese. Subjects were shown two-character Chinese words. A control task was used to eliminate the non-linguistic visual and motor confounds. Results show that naming of Chinese logographs is characterized by left-lateralized neuronal networks for the processing of orthographic, phonological, and semantic attributes. The orchestration of the middle frontal cortex, superior temporal cortex, superior parietal cortex, basal temporal area and extrastriate cortices of the left hemisphere may manifest the particularity of the central representation of simple word naming in Chinese.

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Available from: Jen-Chuen Hsieh, Oct 03, 2015
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    • "This occipital ROI (MNI coordinate −46, −70, −14) was near to the one shown in the study of Dehaene et al. [12], which showed an increase in its activity with literacy but for all visual stimuli with high contrast, not just letters. This area (as with most of the occipital areas) was more highly activated during mirror reading than normal reading [25], and the left inferior occipital gyrus was also more highly activated during the reading of Chinese vs. meaningless figures [26]. Therefore, this area seems important in the reading process for low-level visual processing, perhaps by improving letter discrimination that conveys bottom-up information to the VWFA. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although the functional brain network involved in reading for adults and children is now well documented, a critical lack of knowledge still exists about the structural development of these brain areas. To provide a better overview of the structural dynamics of the brain that sustain reading acquisition, we acquired anatomical MRI brain images from 55 children that were divided into two groups: one prior to the formal learning of reading (n = 33, 5-6 years old) and the second a few years after formal learning (n = 22, 9-10 years old). Reading performances were collected based on the "Alouette-R" test, a standardized test for reading text in French. Voxel-based morphometry analysis of gray matter showed that only the right insula volume was different between the two groups. Moreover, the reading group showed that the volumes of the left fusiform gyrus (corresponding to the well-known visual word form area, VWFA), the anterior part of the left inferior occipital gyrus and the left thalamus were significantly modulated by reading performance. This study reinforces the crucial role of the Visual Word Form Area in reading and correlation analyses performed between ROIs volumes suggesting that the VWFA is fully connected with the traditional left-hemispheric language brain network.
    PLoS ONE 12/2013; 8(12):e81789. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0081789 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "The activation of the left middle frontal gyrus (BAs 9/46) has been reported in several functional neuroimaging studies on Chinese character processing (e.g., Booth et al., 2006; Dong et al., 2005; Kuo et al., 2001, 2004; C.-L. Liu et al., 2006; Tan et al., 2000, 2001a, 2001b). Some suggest that the left middle frontal gyrus is recruited for the intensive visuospatial analysis of Chinese logographs demanded by the visual forms of characters (Tan et al., 2001a, 2001b) and the coordination of phonological or semantic processing required by experimental tasks (Tan et al., 2000, 2001b). "
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    ABSTRACT: A growing body of neuroimaging evidence has shown that Chinese character processing recruits differential activation from alphabetic languages due to its unique linguistic features. As more investigations on Chinese character processing have recently become available, we applied a meta-analytic approach to summarize previous findings and examined the neural networks for orthographic, phonological, and semantic processing of Chinese characters independently. The activation likelihood estimation (ALE) method was used to analyze eight studies in the orthographic task category, eleven in the phonological and fifteen in the semantic task categories. Converging activation among three language-processing components was found in the left middle frontal gyrus, the left superior parietal lobule and the left mid-fusiform gyrus, suggesting a common sub-network underlying the character recognition process regardless of the task nature. With increasing task demands, the left inferior parietal lobule and the right superior temporal gyrus were specialized for phonological processing, while the left middle temporal gyrus was involved in semantic processing. Functional dissociation was identified in the left inferior frontal gyrus, with the posterior dorsal part for phonological processing and the anterior ventral part for semantic processing. Moreover, bilateral involvement of the ventral occipito-temporal regions was found for both phonological and semantic processing. The results provide better understanding of the neural networks underlying Chinese orthographic, phonological, and semantic processing, and consolidate the findings of additional recruitment of the left middle frontal gyrus and the right fusiform gyrus for Chinese character processing as compared with the universal language network that has been based on alphabetic languages.
    NeuroImage 06/2012; 63(1):381-91. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.06.047 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    • "VWFAs have been identified for processing visual words in both alphabetic writing system, such as English, Hebrew, French [4], [15], [16] and non-alphabetic writing system, like Chinese [17], [18], [19]. There is some indication that different alphabetic writing systems could engage the same VWFA region in occipito-temporal cortex. "
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    ABSTRACT: A number of recent studies consistently show an area, known as the visual word form area (VWFA), in the left fusiform gyrus that is selectively responsive for visual words in alphabetic scripts as well as in logographic scripts, such as Chinese characters. However, given the large difference between Chinese characters and alphabetic scripts in terms of their orthographic rules, it is not clear at a fine spatial scale, whether Chinese characters engage the same VWFA in the occipito-temporal cortex as alphabetic scripts. We specifically compared Chinese with Korean script, with Korean script serving as a good example of alphabetic writing system, but matched to Chinese in the overall square shape. Sixteen proficient early Chinese-Korean bilinguals took part in the fMRI experiment. Four types of stimuli (Chinese characters, Korean characters, line drawings and unfamiliar Chinese faces) were presented in a block-design paradigm. By contrasting characters (Chinese or Korean) to faces, presumed VWFAs could be identified for both Chinese and Korean characters in the left occipito-temporal sulcus in each subject. The location of peak response point in these two VWFAs were essentially the same. Further analysis revealed a substantial overlap between the VWFA identified for Chinese and that for Korean. At the group level, there was no significant difference in amplitude of response to Chinese and Korean characters. Spatial patterns of response to Chinese and Korean are similar. In addition to confirming that there is an area in the left occipito-temporal cortex that selectively responds to scripts in both Korean and Chinese in early Chinese-Korean bilinguals, our results show that these two scripts engage essentially the same VWFA, even at the level of fine spatial patterns of activation across voxels. These results suggest that similar populations of neurons are engaged in processing the different scripts within the same VWFA in early bilinguals.
    PLoS ONE 07/2011; 6(7):e22765. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0022765 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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