Distinct neural specializations for learning to read words and name objects


Understanding the neural systems that underpin reading acquisition is key if neuroscientific findings are to inform educational practice. We provide a unique window into these systems by teaching 19 adults to read 24 novel words written in unfamiliar letters and to name 24 novel objects while in an MRI scanner. Behavioral performance on trained items was equivalent for the two stimulus types. However, componential letter-sound associations were extracted when learning to read, as shown by correct reading of untrained words, whereas object-name associations were holistic and arbitrary. Activity in bilateral anterior fusiformgyri was greater during object name learning than learning to read, and ROI analyses indicated that left mid-fusiform activity was predictive of success in object name learning but not in learning to read. In contrast, activity in bilateral parietal cortices was predictive of success for both stimulus types but was greater during learning and recall of written word pronunciations relative to object names. We argue that mid-to-anterior fusiform gyri preferentially process whole items and contribute to learning their spoken form associations, processes that are required for skilled reading. In contrast, parietal cortices preferentially process componential visual-verbal mappings, a process that is crucial for early reading development.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00614
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: Taylor, J. S. H., Rastle, K., & Davis, M. H. (2014). Distinct neural specializations for learning to read words and name objects. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(9), 2128-2154. © 2014 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00614
Uncontrolled Keywords: Language and Linguistics,Linguistics and Language,Cognitive Neuroscience
Publication ISSN: 1530-8898
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 08:23
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2017 13:15
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2014-09
Published Online Date: 2014-07-31
Authors: Taylor, J.S.H. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-1109-8539)
Rastle, Kathleen
Davis, Matthew H.



Version: Accepted Version

| Preview

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record