Alternate reading strategies and variable asymmetry of the planum temporale in adult resilient readers.
ABSTRACT: Resilient readers are characterized by impaired phonological processing despite skilled text comprehension. We investigated orthographic and semantic processing in resilient readers to examine mechanisms of compensation for poor phonological decoding. Performance on phonological (phoneme deletion, pseudoword reading), orthographic (orthographic choice, orthographic analogy), and semantic (semantic priming, homograph resolution) tasks was compared between resilient, poor and proficient readers. Asymmetry of the planum temporale was investigated in order to determine whether atypical readers showed unusual morphology in this language-relevant region. Resilient readers showed deficits on phonological tasks similar to those shown by poor readers. We obtained no evidence that resilient readers compensate via superior orthographic processing, as they showed neither exceptional orthographic skill nor increased reliance on orthography to guide pronunciation. Resilient readers benefited more than poor or proficient readers from semantic relationships between words and experienced greater difficulty when such relationships were not present. We suggest, therefore, that resilient readers compensate for poor phonological decoding via greater reliance on word meaning relationships. The reading groups did not differ in mean asymmetry of the planum temporale. However, resilient readers showed greater variability in planar asymmetry than proficient readers. Poor readers also showed a trend towards greater variability in planar asymmetry, with more poor readers than proficient readers showing extreme asymmetry. Such increased variability suggests that university students with less reading skill display less well regulated brain anatomy than proficient readers.
Project description:Previous studies have found that children with reading difficulties need more exposures to acquire the representations needed to support fluent reading than typically developing readers (e.g., Ehri and Saltmarsh, 1995). Building on existing orthographic learning paradigms, we report on an investigation of orthographic learning in poor readers using a new learning task tracking both the accuracy (untimed exposure duration) and fluency (200 ms exposure duration) of learning novel words over trials. In study 1, we used the paradigm to examine orthographic learning in children with specific poor reader profiles (nine with a surface profile, nine a phonological profile) and nine age-matched controls. Both profiles showed improvement over the learning cycles, but the children with surface profile showed impaired orthographic learning in spelling and orthographic choice tasks. Study 2 explored predictors of orthographic learning in a group of 91 poor readers using the same outcome measures as in Study 1. Consistent with earlier findings in typically developing readers, phonological decoding skill predicted orthographic learning. Moreover, orthographic knowledge significantly predicted orthographic learning over and beyond phonological decoding. The two studies provide insights into how poor readers learn novel words, and how their learning process may be compromised by less proficient orthographic and/or phonological skills.
Project description:UNLABELLED:While reading is challenging for many deaf individuals, some become proficient readers. Little is known about the component processes that support reading comprehension in these individuals. Speech-based phonological knowledge is one of the strongest predictors of reading comprehension in hearing individuals, yet its role in deaf readers is controversial. This could reflect the highly varied language backgrounds among deaf readers as well as the difficulty of disentangling the relative contribution of phonological versus orthographic knowledge of spoken language, in our case 'English,' in this population. Here we assessed the impact of language experience on reading comprehension in deaf readers by recruiting oral deaf individuals, who use spoken English as their primary mode of communication, and deaf native signers of American Sign Language. First, to address the contribution of spoken English phonological knowledge in deaf readers, we present novel tasks that evaluate phonological versus orthographic knowledge. Second, the impact of this knowledge, as well as memory measures that rely differentially on phonological (serial recall) and semantic (free recall) processing, on reading comprehension was evaluated. The best predictor of reading comprehension differed as a function of language experience, with free recall being a better predictor in deaf native signers than in oral deaf. In contrast, the measures of English phonological knowledge, independent of orthographic knowledge, best predicted reading comprehension in oral deaf individuals. These results suggest successful reading strategies differ across deaf readers as a function of their language experience, and highlight a possible alternative route to literacy in deaf native signers. HIGHLIGHTS:1. Deaf individuals vary in their orthographic and phonological knowledge of English as a function of their language experience. 2. Reading comprehension was best predicted by different factors in oral deaf and deaf native signers. 3. Free recall memory (primacy effect) better predicted reading comprehension in deaf native signers as compared to oral deaf or hearing individuals. 4. Language experience should be taken into account when considering cognitive processes that mediate reading in deaf individuals.
Project description:Computation of a prearticulatory phonological representation (phonological access, or phonological retrieval) is an essential process in speech production whose neural localization is not clear. This study combined a specific behavioral measure of phonological access and multivariate voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) in a series of left hemisphere stroke patients to identify brain regions critical for this process.Phonological access was assessed in 40 chronic ischemic stroke patients using a silent rhyming task to avoid confounds with motor planning and articulation deficits. Additional covariates were incorporated in the VLSM analysis to control for orthographic and working memory demands of the rhyming task, and for age, education, and total lesion volume. The resulting t statistic maps were thresholded at voxelwise p < 0.001 and cluster-corrected at a familywise error of p < 0.05.Phonological access impairment was correlated with damage to a focal region of cortex and white matter caudal to the posterior sylvian fissure, which included the posterior supramarginal gyrus and adjacent anterior angular gyrus, planum temporale, and posterior superior temporal gyrus. No correlation was observed with Broca's area, insula, or sensorimotor cortex. An additional VLSM showed no correlation between damage in this posterior perisylvian region and spoken word comprehension.This is the first demonstration of a specific lesion correlate for phonological access impairment. Although this posterior perisylvian region overlaps with some versions of the classical Wernicke area, the present results demonstrate its involvement in prearticulatory phonological production rather than speech perception or lexical-semantic processes.
Project description:The planum temporale is a region on the posterior surface of the temporal lobe that exhibits robust leftward structural asymmetry, which has been linked to verbal ability in children and adults. Traditionally, structural asymmetry has been quantified with manual assessment of high resolution MRI scans. Such measures require subjective and frequently unreliable determination of highly variable anatomical boundaries. Methodological developments in automated image processing (voxel-based morphometry - VBM) offer the opportunity to obtain objective and reliable measures of structural variation. This study examined the extent to which a VBM measure of gray matter asymmetry in the posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG) characterized the same individual variation as a manual measure of planum temporale asymmetry in 99 healthy adults and 39 typically developing children. Planum temporale asymmetry was significantly correlated with pSTG gray matter asymmetry in the samples of adults and children. As a measure of validity we examined the extent to which the VBM measure of pSTG gray matter asymmetry predicted measures of verbal ability that were associated with the manual measure of planum temporale asymmetry in the same children. The two asymmetry measures predicted the same variance in verbal ability. The automated measure of pSTG gray matter asymmetry predicted additional significant variance in verbal ability, however. In addition, a posterior STS region was also identified that significantly predicted verbal ability. These results demonstrate significant advantages of an automated voxel-based measure over a manual measure of planum temporale asymmetry.
Project description:Developmental dyslexia is one of the most prevalent learning disabilities, thought to be associated with dysfunction in the neural systems underlying typical reading acquisition. Neuroimaging research has shown that readers with dyslexia exhibit regional hypoactivation in left hemisphere reading nodes, relative to control counterparts. This evidence, however, comes from studies that have focused only on isolated aspects of reading. The present study aims to characterize left hemisphere regional hypoactivation in readers with dyslexia for the main processes involved in successful reading: phonological, orthographic and semantic. Forty-one participants performed a demanding reading task during MRI scanning. Results showed that readers with dyslexia exhibited hypoactivation associated with phonological processing in parietal regions; with orthographic processing in parietal regions, Broca's area, ventral occipitotemporal cortex and thalamus; and with semantic processing in angular gyrus and hippocampus. Stronger functional connectivity was observed for readers with dyslexia than for control readers 1) between the thalamus and the inferior parietal cortex/ventral occipitotemporal cortex during pseudoword reading; and, 2) between the hippocampus and the pars opercularis during word reading. These findings constitute the strongest evidence to date for the interplay between regional hypoactivation and functional connectivity in the main processes supporting reading in dyslexia.
Project description:Reorganization of eloquent cortex enables rescue of language functions in patients who sustain brain injury. Individuals with left-sided, early-onset focal epilepsy often show atypical (i.e. bilateral or right-sided) language dominance. Surprisingly, many patients fail to show such interhemispheric shift of language despite having major epileptogenic lesions in close proximity to eloquent cortex. Although a number of epilepsy-related factors may promote interhemispheric plasticity, it has remained unexplored if neuroanatomical asymmetries linked to human language dominance modify the likelihood of atypical lateralization. Here we examined the asymmetry of the planum temporale, one of the most striking asymmetries in the human brain, in relation to language lateralization in children with left-sided focal epilepsy. Language functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 51 children with focal epilepsy and left-sided lesions and 36 healthy control subjects. We examined the association of language laterality with a range of potential clinical predictors and the asymmetry of the length of the planum temporale. Using voxel-based methods, we sought to determine the effect of lesion location (in the affected left hemisphere) and grey matter density (in the unaffected right hemisphere) on language laterality. Atypical language lateralization was observed in 19 patients (38%) and in four controls (11%). Language laterality was increasingly right-sided in patients who showed atypical handedness, a left perisylvian ictal electroencephalographic focus, and a lesion in left anterior superior temporal or inferior frontal regions. Most striking was the relationship between rightward asymmetry of the planum temporale and atypical language (R = 0.70, P < 0.0001); patients with a longer planum temporale in the right (unaffected) hemisphere were more likely to have atypical language dominance. Voxel-based regression analysis confirmed that increased grey matter density in the right temporo-parietal junction was correlated with right hemisphere lateralization of language. The length of the planum temporale in the right hemisphere was the main predictor of language lateralization in the epilepsy group, accounting for 48% of variance, with handedness accounting for only a further 5%. There was no correlation between language lateralization and planum temporale asymmetry in the control group. We conclude that asymmetry of the planum temporale may be unrelated to language lateralization in healthy individuals, but the size of the right, contra-lesional planum temporale region may reflect a 'reserve capacity' for interhemispheric language reorganization in the presence of a seizure focus and lesions within left perisylvian regions.
Project description:It has been proposed that poor reading abilities in deaf readers might be related to weak connections between the orthographic and lexical-semantic levels of processing. Here we used event related potentials (ERPs), known for their excellent time resolution, to examine whether lexical feedback modulates early orthographic processing. Twenty congenitally deaf readers made lexical decisions to target words and pseudowords. Each of those target stimuli could be preceded by a briefly presented matched-case or mismatched-case identity prime (e.g., ALTAR-ALTAR vs. altar- ALTAR). Results showed an early effect of case overlap at the N/P150 for all targets. Critically, this effect disappeared for words but not for pseudowords, at the N250-an ERP component sensitive to orthographic processing. This dissociation in the effect of case for word and pseudowords targets provides strong evidence of early automatic lexical-semantic feedback modulating orthographic processing in deaf readers. Interestingly, despite the dissociation found in the ERP data, behavioural responses to words still benefited from the physical overlap between prime and target, particularly in less skilled readers and those with less experience with words. Overall, our results support the idea that skilled deaf readers have a stronger connection between the orthographic and the lexical-semantic levels of processing.
Project description:Reading is one of the most popular leisure activities and it is routinely performed by most individuals even in old age. Successful reading enables older people to master and actively participate in everyday life and maintain functional independence. Yet, reading comprises a multitude of subprocesses and it is undoubtedly one of the most complex accomplishments of the human brain. Not surprisingly, findings of age-related effects on word recognition and reading have been partly contradictory and are often confined to only one of four central reading subprocesses, i.e., sublexical, orthographic, phonological and lexico-semantic processing. The aim of the present study was therefore to systematically investigate the impact of age on each of these subprocesses. A total of 1,807 participants (young, N = 384; old, N = 1,423) performed four decision tasks specifically designed to tap one of the subprocesses. To account for the behavioral heterogeneity in older adults, this subsample was split into high and low performing readers. Data were analyzed using a hierarchical diffusion modeling approach, which provides more information than standard response time/accuracy analyses. Taking into account incorrect and correct response times, their distributions and accuracy data, hierarchical diffusion modeling allowed us to differentiate between age-related changes in decision threshold, non-decision time and the speed of information uptake. We observed longer non-decision times for older adults and a more conservative decision threshold. More importantly, high-performing older readers outperformed younger adults at the speed of information uptake in orthographic and lexico-semantic processing, whereas a general age-disadvantage was observed at the sublexical and phonological levels. Low-performing older readers were slowest in information uptake in all four subprocesses. Discussing these results in terms of computational models of word recognition, we propose age-related disadvantages for older readers to be caused by inefficiencies in temporal sampling and activation and/or inhibition processes.
Project description:Many deaf individuals do not develop the high-level reading skills that will allow them to fully take part into society. To attempt to explain this widespread difficulty in the deaf population, much research has honed in on the use of phonological codes during reading. The hypothesis that the use of phonological codes is associated with good reading skills in deaf readers, though not well supported, still lingers in the literature. We investigated skilled and less-skilled adult deaf readers' processing of orthographic and phonological codes in parafoveal vision during reading by monitoring their eye movements and using the boundary paradigm. Orthographic preview benefits were found in early measures of reading for skilled hearing, skilled deaf, and less-skilled deaf readers, but only skilled hearing readers processed phonological codes in parafoveal vision. Crucially, skilled and less-skilled deaf readers showed a very similar pattern of preview benefits during reading. These results support the notion that reading difficulties in deaf adults are not linked to their failure to activate phonological codes during reading.
Project description:A central issue in written production concerns how phonological codes influence the output of orthographic codes. We used a picture-word interference paradigm combined with the event-related potential technique to investigate the temporal courses of phonological and orthographic activation and their interplay in Chinese writing. Distractors were orthographically related, phonologically related, orthographically plus phonologically related, or unrelated to picture names. The behavioral results replicated the classic facilitation effect for all three types of relatedness. The ERP results indicated an orthographic effect in the time window of 370-500 ms (onset latency: 370 ms), a phonological effect in the time window of 460-500 ms (onset latency: 464 ms), and an additive pattern of both effects in both time windows, thus indicating that orthographic codes were accessed earlier than, and independent of, phonological codes in written production. The orthographic activation originates from the semantic system, whereas the phonological effect results from the activation spreading from the orthographic lexicon to the phonological lexicon. These findings substantially strengthen the existing evidence that shows that access to orthographic codes is not mediated by phonological information, and they provide important support for the orthographic autonomy hypothesis.