Reading proficiency and adaptability in orthographic processing: an examination of the effect of type of orthography read on brain activity in regular and dyslexic readers.
ABSTRACT: Regular readers were found to adjust the routine of reading to the demands of processing imposed by different orthographies. Dyslexic readers may lack such adaptability in reading. This hypothesis was tested among readers of Hebrew, as Hebrew has two forms of script differing in phonological transparency. Event-related potentials were recorded from 24 regular and 24 dyslexic readers while they carried out a lexical decision task in these two forms of script. The two forms of script elicited distinct amplitudes and latencies at ?165 ms after target onset, and these effects were larger in regular than in dyslexic readers. These early effects appeared not to be merely a result of the visual difference between the two forms of script (the presence of diacritics). The next effect of form of script was obtained on amplitudes elicited at latencies associated with orthographic-lexical processing and the categorization of stimuli, and these appeared earlier in regular readers (?340 ms) than in dyslexic readers (?400 ms). The behavioral measures showed inferior reading skills of dyslexic readers compared to regular readers in reading of both forms of script. Taken together, the results suggest that although dyslexic readers are not indifferent to the type of orthography read, they fail to adjust the routine of reading to the demands of processing imposed by both a transparent and an opaque orthography.
Project description:Orthographies vary in the degree of transparency of spelling-sound correspondence. These range from shallow orthographies with transparent grapheme-phoneme relations, to deep orthographies, in which these relations are opaque. Only a few studies have examined whether orthographic depth is reflected in brain activity. In these studies a between-language design was applied, making it difficult to isolate the aspect of orthographic depth. In the present work this question was examined using a within-subject-and-language investigation. The participants were speakers of Hebrew, as they are skilled in reading two forms of script transcribing the same oral language. One form is the shallow pointed script (with diacritics), and the other is the deep unpointed script (without diacritics). Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while skilled readers carried out a lexical decision task in the two forms of script. A visual non-orthographic task controlled for the visual difference between the scripts (resulting from the addition of diacritics to the pointed script only). At an early visual-perceptual stage of processing (~165 ms after target onset), the pointed script evoked larger amplitudes with longer latencies than the unpointed script at occipital-temporal sites. However, these effects were not restricted to orthographic processing, and may therefore have reflected, at least in part, the visual load imposed by the diacritics. Nevertheless, the results implied that distinct orthographic processing may have also contributed to these effects. At later stages (~340 ms after target onset) the unpointed script elicited larger amplitudes than the pointed one with earlier latencies. As this latency has been linked to orthographic-linguistic processing and to the classification of stimuli, it is suggested that these differences are associated with distinct lexical processing of a shallow and a deep orthography.
Project description:Higher N170 amplitudes to words and to faces were recently reported for faster readers of German. Since the shallow German orthography allows phonological recoding of single letters, the reported speed advantages might have their origin in especially well-developed visual processing skills of faster readers. In contrast to German, adult readers of Hebrew are forced to process letter chunks up to whole words. This dependence on more complex visual processing might have created ceiling effects for this skill. Therefore, the current study examined whether also in the deep Hebrew orthography visual processing skills as reflected by N170 amplitudes explain reading speed differences. Forty university students, native speakers of Hebrew without reading impairments, accomplished a lexical decision task (i.e., deciding whether a visually presented stimulus represents a real or a pseudo word) and a face decision task (i.e., deciding whether a face was presented complete or with missing facial features) while their electroencephalogram was recorded from 64 scalp positions. In both tasks stronger event related potentials (ERPs) were observed for faster readers in time windows at about 200 ms. Unlike in previous studies, ERP waveforms in relevant time windows did not correspond to N170 scalp topographies. The results support the notion of visual processing ability as an orthography independent marker of reading proficiency, which advances our understanding about regular and impaired reading development.
Project description:Spelling deficits have repeatedly been observed in children with dyslexia. However, the few studies addressing this issue in dyslexic adults have reported contradictory results. We investigated whether Spanish dyslexics show spelling deficits in adulthood and which components of the writing production process might be impaired in developmental dyslexia. In order to evaluate the involvement of the lexical and the sublexical routes of spelling as well as the graphemic buffer, lexical frequency, phonology-to-orthography consistency and word length were manipulated in two writing tasks: a direct copy transcoding task and a spelling-to-dictation task. Results revealed that adults with dyslexia produced longer written latencies, inter-letter intervals, writing durations and more errors than their peers without dyslexia. Moreover, the dyslexics were more affected by lexical frequency and word length than the controls, but both groups showed a similar effect of P-O consistency. Written latencies also revealed that while the dyslexics initiated the response later in the direct copy transcoding task than in the spelling-to-dictation task, the controls showed the opposite pattern. However, the dyslexics were slower than the controls in both tasks. Results were consistent with the hypothesis that spelling difficulties are present in adults with dyslexia, at least in a language with a transparent orthography such as Spanish. These difficulties seem to be associated with a deficit affecting both lexical processing and the ability to maintain information about the serial order of the letters in a word. However, the dyslexic group did not differ from the control group in the application of the P-O conversion procedures. The spelling impairment would be in addition to the reading deficit, leading to poorer performance in direct copy transcoding compared to spelling-to-dictation.
Project description:Morphological processing of derived words develops simultaneously with reading acquisition. However, the reader's engagement in morphological segmentation may depend on the language morphological richness and orthographic transparency, and the readers' reading skills. The current study tested the common idea that morphological segmentation is enhanced in non-transparent orthographies to compensate for the absence of phonological information. Hebrew's rich morphology and the dual version of the Hebrew script (with and without diacritic marks) provides an opportunity to study the interaction of orthographic transparency and morphological segmentation on the development of reading skills in a within-language design. Hebrew speaking 2nd (N = 27) and 5th (N = 29) grade children read aloud 96 noun words. Half of the words were simple mono-morphemic words and half were bi-morphemic derivations composed of a productive root and a morphemic pattern. In each list half of the words were presented in the transparent version of the script (with diacritic marks), and half in the non-transparent version (without diacritic marks). Our results show that in both groups, derived bi-morphemic words were identified more accurately than mono-morphemic words, but only for the transparent, pointed, script. For the un-pointed script the reverse was found, namely, that bi-morphemic words were read less accurately than mono-morphemic words, especially in second grade. Second grade children also read mono-morphemic words faster than bi-morphemic words. Finally, correlations with a standardized measure of morphological awareness were found only for second grade children, and only in bi-morphemic words. These results, showing greater morphological effects in second grade compared to fifth grade children suggest that for children raised in a language with a rich morphology, common and easily segmented morphemic units may be more beneficial for younger compared to older readers. Moreover, in contrast to the common hypothesis, our results show that morphemic segmentation does not compensate for the missing phonological information in a non-transparent orthography, but rather that morphological segmentation is most beneficial in the highly transparent script. These results are consistent with the idea that morphological and phonological segmentation processes occur simultaneously and do not constitute alternative pathways to visual word recognition.
Project description:Research on Japanese reading has generally indicated that processing of the logographic script Kanji primarily involves whole-word lexical processing and follows a semantics-to-phonology route, while the two phonological scripts Hiragana and Katakana (collectively called Kana) are processed via a sub-lexical route, and more in a phonology-to-semantics manner. Therefore, switching between the two scripts often involves switching between two reading processes, which results in a delayed response for the second script (a script switch cost). In the present study, participants responded to pairs of words that were written either in the same orthography (within-script), or in two different Japanese orthographies (cross-script), switching either between Kanji and Hiragana, or between Katakana and Hiragana. They were asked to read the words aloud (Experiments 1 and 3) and to make a semantic decision about them (Experiments 2 and 4). In contrast to initial predictions, a clear switch cost was observed when participants switched between the two Kana scripts, while script switch costs were less consistent when participants switched between Kanji and Hiragana. This indicates that there are distinct processes involved in reading of the two types of Kana, where Hiragana reading appears to bear some similarities to Kanji processing. This suggests that the role of semantic processing in Hiragana (but not Katakana) reading is more prominent than previously thought and thus, Hiragana is not likely to be processed strictly phonologically.
Project description:Behavioral and neuroimaging studies have provided evidence that reading is strongly left lateralized, and the degree of this pattern of functional lateralization can be indicative of reading competence. However, it remains unclear whether functional lateralization differs between the first (L1) and second (L2) languages in bilingual L2 readers. This question is particularly important when the particular script, or orthography, learned by the L2 readers is markedly different from their L1 script. In this study, we quantified functional lateralization in brain regions involved in visual word recognition for participants' L1 and L2 scripts, with a particular focus on the effects of L1-L2 script differences in the visual complexity and orthographic depth of the script. Two different groups of late L2 learners participated in an fMRI experiment using a visual one-back matching task: L1 readers of Japanese who learnt to read alphabetic English and L1 readers of English who learnt to read both Japanese syllabic Kana and logographic Kanji. The results showed weaker leftward lateralization in the posterior lateral occipital complex (pLOC) for logographic Kanji compared with syllabic and alphabetic scripts in both L1 and L2 readers of Kanji. When both L1 and L2 scripts were non-logographic, where symbols are mapped onto sounds, functional lateralization did not significantly differ between L1 and L2 scripts in any region, in any group. Our findings indicate that weaker leftward lateralization for logographic reading reflects greater requirement of the right hemisphere for processing visually complex logographic Kanji symbols, irrespective of whether Kanji is the readers' L1 or L2, rather than characterizing additional cognitive efforts of L2 readers. Finally, brain-behavior analysis revealed that functional lateralization for L2 visual word processing predicted L2 reading competency.
Project description:This study was aimed at predicting individual differences in text reading fluency. The basic proposal included two factors, i.e., the ability to decode letter strings (measured by discrete pseudo-word reading) and integration of the various sub-components involved in reading (measured by Rapid Automatized Naming, RAN). Subsequently, a third factor was added to the model, i.e., naming of discrete digits. In order to use homogeneous measures, all contributing variables considered the entire processing of the item, including pronunciation time. The model, which was based on commonality analysis, was applied to data from a group of 43 typically developing readers (11- to 13-year-olds) and a group of 25 chronologically matched dyslexic children. In typically developing readers, both orthographic decoding and integration of reading sub-components contributed significantly to the overall prediction of text reading fluency. The model prediction was higher (from ca. 37 to 52% of the explained variance) when we included the naming of discrete digits variable, which had a suppressive effect on pseudo-word reading. In the dyslexic readers, the variance explained by the two-factor model was high (69%) and did not change when the third factor was added. The lack of a suppression effect was likely due to the prominent individual differences in poor orthographic decoding of the dyslexic children. Analyses on data from both groups of children were replicated by using patches of colors as stimuli (both in the RAN task and in the discrete naming task) obtaining similar results. We conclude that it is possible to predict much of the variance in text-reading fluency using basic processes, such as orthographic decoding and integration of reading sub-components, even without taking into consideration higher-order linguistic factors such as lexical, semantic and contextual abilities. The approach validity of using proximal vs. distal causes to predict reading fluency is discussed.
Project description:The present study explores the role of individual differences in polymorphemic word recognition. Participants completed a masked priming lexical decision experiment on suffixed words in which targets could be preceded by suffix-related words (words sharing the same suffix) or by affixed primes with a different suffix. Participants also completed a monomorphemic word lexical decision and were divided in two groups (fast and slow readers) according to their performance in this task. When the suffix priming data were analyzed taking into consideration participants' reading speed as a proxy for their greater reliance on orthography or on semantics, a significant interaction between reading speed and the magnitude of the masked suffix priming effects emerged. Only slow participants showed significant priming effects, whereas faster participants showed negligible masked suffix priming effects. These results demonstrate that different reading profiles modulate the access to morphological information in a qualitatively different manner and that individual differences in reading determine the manner in which polymorphemic words are processed.
Project description:Orthographic differences across languages impose differential weighting on distinct component processes, and consequently on different pathways during word-reading tasks. Readers of transparent orthographies such as Italian and Hindi are thought to rely on spelling-to-sound assembly and show increased activation in phonologically tuned areas along the dorsal pathway, whereas reading an opaque orthography such as English is thought to rely more on lexically mediated processing associated with increased activation of semantically tuned regions along the ventral pathway. To test if biliterate Hindi/English readers exhibit orthography-specific reading pathways, we used behavioural measures and functional neuroimaging. Reaction times and activation patterns of monolingual English and Hindi readers were compared to two groups of adult biliterates; 14 simultaneous readers who learnt to read both languages at age 5 and 10 sequential readers who learnt Hindi at 5 and English at 10. Simultaneous, but not sequential readers demonstrated relative activation differences of dorsal and ventral areas in the two languages. Similar to native counterparts, simultaneous readers preferentially activated the left inferior temporal gyrus for English and left inferior parietal lobule (L-IPL) for Hindi, whereas, sequential readers showed higher activation along the L-IPL for reading both languages. We suggest that early simultaneous exposure to reading distinct orthographies results in orthography-specific plasticity that persists through adulthood.