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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-34590

Brem, S; Bach, S; Kucian, K; Guttorm, T K; Martin, E; Lyytinen, H; Brandeis, D; Richardson, U (2010). Brain sensitivity to print emerges when children learn letter-speech sound correspondences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 107(17):7939-7944.

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The acquisition of reading skills is a major landmark process in a human's cognitive development. On the neural level, a new functional network develops during this time, as children typically learn to associate the well-known sounds of their spoken language with unfamiliar characters in alphabetic languages and finally access the meaning of written words, allowing for later reading. A critical component of the mature reading network located in the left occipito-temporal cortex, termed the "visual word-form system" (VWFS), exhibits print-sensitive activation in readers. When and how the sensitivity of the VWFS to print comes about remains an open question. In this study, we demonstrate the initiation of occipito-temporal cortex sensitivity to print using functional MRI (fMRI) (n = 16) and event-related potentials (ERP) (n = 32) in a controlled, longitudinal training study. Print sensitivity of fast (<250 ms) processes in posterior occipito-temporal brain regions accompanied basic associative learning of letter-speech sound correspondences in young (mean age 6.4 +/- 0.08 y) nonreading kindergarten children, as shown by concordant ERP and fMRI results. The occipito-temporal print sensitivity thus is established during the earliest phase of reading acquisition in childhood, suggesting that a crucial part of the later reading network first adopts a role in mapping print and sound.


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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Date:27 April 2010
Deposited On:05 Jul 2010 12:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:10
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
Publisher DOI:10.1073/pnas.0904402107
PubMed ID:20395549

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