Dough, tough, cough, rough: A "fast" fMRI localizer of component processes in reading.
ABSTRACT: In the current study, we present a novel fMRI protocol in which words, pseudowords, and other word-like stimuli are passively presented in a rapid, sequential fashion. In this "fast" localizer paradigm, items are presented in groups of four; within sets, words are related in orthographic, phonological, and/or semantic properties. We tested this protocol with a group of skilled adult readers (N=18). Analyses uncovered key regions of the reading network that were sensitive to different component processes at the group level; namely, left fusiform gyrus as well as the pars opercularis subregion of inferior frontal gyrus were sensitive to lexicality; several regions including left precentral gyrus and left supramarginal gyrus were sensitive to spelling-sound consistency; the pars triangularis subregion of inferior frontal gyrus was sensitive to semantic similarity. Additionally, in a number of key brain regions, activation in response to semantically similar words was related to individual differences in reading comprehension outside the scanner. Importantly, these findings are in line with previous investigations of the reading network, yet data were obtained using much less imaging time than comparable paradigms currently available, especially relative to the number of indices of component processes obtained. This feature, combined with the relatively simple nature of the task, renders it appropriate for groups of subjects with a wide range of reading abilities, including children with impairments.
Project description:Learning a new language entails interactions with one?s prior language(s). Much research has shown how native language affects the cognitive and neural mechanisms of a new language, but little is known about whether and how learning a new language shapes the neural mechanisms of prior language(s). In two experiments in the current study, we used an artificial language training paradigm in combination with an fMRI to examine (1) the effects of different linguistic components (phonology and semantics) of a new language on the neural process of prior languages (i.e., native and second languages), and (2) whether such effects were modulated by the proficiency level in the new language. Results of Experiment 1 showed that when the training in a new language involved semantics (as opposed to only visual forms and phonology), neural activity during word reading in the native language (Chinese) was reduced in several reading-related regions, including the left pars opercularis, pars triangularis, bilateral inferior temporal gyrus, fusiform gyrus, and inferior occipital gyrus. Results of Experiment 2 replicated the results of Experiment 1 and further found that semantic training also affected neural activity during word reading in the subjects? second language (English). Furthermore, we found that the effects of the new language were modulated by the subjects? proficiency level in the new language. These results provide critical imaging evidence for the influence of learning to read words in a new language on word reading in native and second languages.
Project description:Semantic memory is a crucial higher cortical function that codes the meaning of objects and words, and when impaired after neurological damage, patients are left with significant disability. Investigations of semantic dementia have implicated the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) region, in general, as crucial for multimodal semantic memory. The potentially crucial role of the ventral ATL subregion has been emphasized by recent functional neuroimaging studies, but the necessity of this precise area has not been selectively tested. The implantation of subdural electrode grids over this subregion, for the presurgical assessment of patients with partial epilepsy or brain tumor, offers the dual yet rare opportunities to record cortical local field potentials while participants complete semantic tasks and to stimulate the functionally identified regions in the same participants to evaluate the necessity of these areas in semantic processing. Across 6 patients, and utilizing a variety of semantic assessments, we evaluated and confirmed that the anterior fusiform/inferior temporal gyrus is crucial in multimodal, receptive, and expressive, semantic processing.
Project description:We explored the impact of task context on subliminal neural priming using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The repetition of words during semantic categorization produced activation reduction in the left middle temporal gyrus previously associated with semantic-level representation and dorsal premotor cortex. By contrast, reading aloud produced repetition enhancement in the left inferior parietal lobe associated with print-to-sound conversion and ventral premotor cortex. Analyses of effective connectivity revealed that the task set for reading generated reciprocal excitatory connections between the left inferior parietal and superior temporal regions, reflecting the audiovisual integration required for vocalization, whereas categorization did not produce such backward projection to posterior regions. Thus, masked repetition priming involves two distinct components in the task-specific neural streams, one in the parietotemporal cortex for task-specific word processing and the other in the premotor cortex for behavioral response preparation. The top-down influence of task sets further changes the directions of the unconscious priming in the entire cerebral circuitry for reading.
Project description:Single-digit multiplications are mainly solved by memory retrieval. However, these problems are also prone to errors due to systematic interference (i.e., co-activation of interconnected but incorrect solutions). Semantic control processes are crucial to overcome this type of interference and to retrieve the correct information. Previous research suggests the importance of several brain regions such as the left inferior frontal cortex and the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) for semantic control. But, this evidence is mainly based on tasks measuring interference during the processing of lexico-semantic information (e.g., pictures or words). Here, we investigated whether semantic control during arithmetic problem solving (i.e., multiplication fact retrieval) draws upon similar or different brain mechanisms as in other semantic domains (i.e., lexico-semantic). The brain activity of 46 students was measured with fMRI while participants performed an operand-related-lure (OR) and a picture-word (PW) task. In the OR task participants had to verify the correctness of a given solution to a single-digit multiplication. Similarly, in the PW task, participants had to judge whether a presented word matches the concept displayed in a picture or not. Analyses showed that resolving interference in these two tasks modulates the activation of a widespread fronto-parietal network (e.g., left/right IFG, left insula lobe, left IPS). Importantly, conjunction analysis revealed a neural overlap in the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) pars triangularis and left IPS. Additional Bayesian analyses showed that regions that are thought to store lexico-semantic information (e.g., left middle temporal gyrus) did not show evidence for an arithmetic interference effect. Overall, our findings not only indicate that semantic control plays an important role in arithmetic problem solving but also that it is supported by common brain regions across semantic domains. Additionally, by conducting Bayesian analysis we confirmed the hypothesis that the semantic control network contributes differently to semantic tasks of various domains.
Project description:Sentence comprehension requires the integration of both syntactic and semantic information, the acquisition of which seems to have different trajectories in the developing brain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined the neural correlates underlying syntactic and semantic processing during auditory sentence comprehension as well as its development in preschool children by manipulating case marking and animacy hierarchy cues, respectively. A functional segregation was observed within Broca's area in the left inferior frontal gyrus for adults, where the pars opercularis was involved in syntactic processing and the pars triangularis in semantic processing. By contrast, five-year-old children sensitive to animacy hierarchy cues showed diffuse activation for semantic processing in the left inferior frontal and posterior temporal cortices. While no main effect of case marking was found in the left fronto-temporal language network, children with better syntactic skills showed greater neural responses for syntactically complex sentences, most prominently in the posterior superior temporal cortex. The current study provides both behavioral and neural evidence that five-year-old children compared to adults rely more on semantic information than on syntactic cues during sentence comprehension, but with the development of syntactic abilities, their brain activation in the left fronto-temporal network increases for syntactic processing.
Project description:Semantic and phonemic fluency tasks are frequently used to test executive functioning, speed and attention, and access to the mental lexicon. In semantic fluency tasks, subjects are required to generate words belonging to a category (e.g., animals) within a limited time window, whereas in phonemic fluency tasks subjects have to generate words starting with a given letter. Anatomical correlates of semantic and phonemic fluency are currently assumed to overlap in left frontal structures, reflecting shared executive processes, and to be distinct in left temporal and right frontal structures, reflecting involvement of distinct memory processes and search strategies. Definite evidence for this assumption is lacking. To further establish the anatomical correlates of semantic and phonemic fluency, we applied assumption-free voxel-based and region-of-interest-based lesion-symptom mapping in 93 patients with ischemic stroke. Fluency was assessed by asking patients to name animals (semantic), and words starting with the letter N and A (phonemic). Our findings indicate that anatomical correlates of semantic and phonemic fluency overlap in the left inferior frontal gyrus and insula, reflecting shared underlying cognitive processes. Phonemic fluency additionally draws on the left rolandic operculum, which might reflect a search through phonological memory, and the middle frontal gyrus. Semantic fluency additionally draws on left medial temporal regions, probably reflecting a search through semantic memory, and the right inferior frontal gyrus, which might reflect the application of a visuospatial mental imagery strategy in semantic fluency. These findings establish shared and distinct anatomical correlates of semantic and phonemic fluency.
Project description:While functional neuroimaging studies have helped elucidate major regions implicated in word recognition, much less is known about the dynamics of the associated activations or the actual neural processes of their functional network. We used intracerebral electroencephalography recordings in 10 patients with epilepsy to directly measure neural activity in the temporal and frontal lobes during written words' recognition, predominantly in the left hemisphere. The patients were presented visually with consonant strings, pseudo-words, and words and performed a hierarchical paradigm contrasting semantic processes (living vs. nonliving word categorization task), phonological processes (rhyme decision task on pseudo-words), and visual processes (visual analysis of consonant strings). Stimuli triggered a cascade of modulations in the gamma-band (>40 Hz) with reproducible timing and task-sensitivity throughout the functional reading network: the earliest gamma-band activations were observed for all stimuli in the mesial basal temporal lobe at 150 ms, reaching the word form area in the mid fusiform gyrus at 200 ms, evidencing a superiority effect for word-like stimuli. Peaks of gamma-band activations were then observed for word-like stimuli after 400 ms in the anterior and middle portion of the superior temporal gyrus (BA 38 and BA 22 respectively), in the pars triangularis of Broca's area for the semantic task (BAs 45 and 47), and in the pars opercularis for the phonological task (BA 44). Concurrently, we observed a two-pronged effect in the prefrontal cortex (BAs 9 and 46), with nonspecific sustained dorsal activation related to sustained attention and, more ventrally, a strong reflex deactivation around 500 ms, possibly due to semantic working memory reset.
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:Objective:Positive symptoms, such as delusion and hallucination, commonly include negative emotional content in schizophrenia. We investigated the neural basis implicated during the processing of strong negative emotional words in patients with schizophrenia. Methods:In our study, 35 patients with schizophrenia and 19 healthy controls were recruited, and the participants were asked to passively view the words that contained swearing and neutral content during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results:Patients with schizophrenia, compared to healthy controls, showed hypoactivation to the swear and neutral words stimuli in the left inferior frontal gyrus, left middle frontal gyrus, and left angular/supramarginal gyrus. More specifically, patients with remitted schizophrenia were found to have greater activation to the stimuli in the left middle/inferior frontal gyrus than patients with active schizophrenia. Furthermore, in the analysis of regions of interests, the left inferior and middle frontal gyrus activity was related to the severity of positive symptoms, including delusion and suspiciousness. Conclusion:Our results suggest that patients with schizophrenia have difficulty in semantic processing and inhibitory control of swear words, and these abnormalities may be connected with the severity of positive symptoms.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The clinicopathological continuity between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is well known. Although ALS demonstrates language symptoms similar to FTLD, including semantic dementia, word reading impairments in ALS have not been well studied. "Jukujikun" are Kanji-written words with irregular pronunciation comparable to "exception words" and useful for detecting semantic deficits in Japan. We conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate Jukujikun reading impairments and related network changes in ALS. METHODS:We enrolled 71 ALS patients and 69 healthy controls (HCs). Age-, sex-, and education matched HCs were recruited from another cohort study concurrently with patient registration. We examined neuropsychological factors including low frequency Jukujikun reading. We performed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging with voxel-based graph analysis on a subset of participants who agreed. FINDINGS:Low frequency Jukujikun score was decreased in ALS (15·0[11·0-19·0](median[25-75 percentile])) compared with HCs (19·0[17·3-20·0]) (p?<?0·001, effect size?=?0·43). Fifty-two percent of ALS (N?=?37) with low frequency Jukujikun score???5th percentile of HCs was classified as ALS with positive Jukujikun deficit (ALS-JD+). Compared with HCs, ALS-JD+ showed decreased degree centrality in the right lingual/fusiform gyrus, where connectivities with regions associated with word perception, semantic processing, or speech production were decreased. They also showed increased degree centrality in the left inferior/middle temporal gyrus, associated with increased connectivities involving semantic processing. INTERPRETATION:Dysfunction of the "hub" in the right lingual/fusiform gyrus can affect semantic deficit in ALS. Considering neuropsychological symptoms as network impairments is vital for understanding various diseases. FUND: MHLW and MEXT, Japan.