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Learning to read recycles visual cortical networks without destruction


Hervais-Adelman, Alexis; Kumar, Uttam; Mishra, Ramesh K; Tripathi, Viveka N; Guleria, Anupam; Singh, Jay P; Eisner, Frank; Huettig, Falk (2019). Learning to read recycles visual cortical networks without destruction. Science Advances, 5(9):eaax0262.

Abstract

Learning to read is associated with the appearance of an orthographically sensitive brain region known as the visual word form area. It has been claimed that development of this area proceeds by impinging upon territory otherwise available for the processing of culturally relevant stimuli such as faces and houses. In a large-scale functional magnetic resonance imaging study of a group of individuals of varying degrees of literacy (from completely illiterate to highly literate), we examined cortical responses to orthographic and nonorthographic visual stimuli. We found that literacy enhances responses to other visual input in early visual areas and enhances representational similarity between text and faces, without reducing the extent of response to nonorthographic input. Thus, acquisition of literacy in childhood recycles existing object representation mechanisms but without destructive competition.

Abstract

Learning to read is associated with the appearance of an orthographically sensitive brain region known as the visual word form area. It has been claimed that development of this area proceeds by impinging upon territory otherwise available for the processing of culturally relevant stimuli such as faces and houses. In a large-scale functional magnetic resonance imaging study of a group of individuals of varying degrees of literacy (from completely illiterate to highly literate), we examined cortical responses to orthographic and nonorthographic visual stimuli. We found that literacy enhances responses to other visual input in early visual areas and enhances representational similarity between text and faces, without reducing the extent of response to nonorthographic input. Thus, acquisition of literacy in childhood recycles existing object representation mechanisms but without destructive competition.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:18 September 2019
Deposited On:19 Sep 2019 11:08
Last Modified:22 Apr 2020 21:09
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:2375-2548
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aax0262
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P1_163726
  • : Project TitleExploring audio-motor integration: a novel approach to overcoming hearing impairment

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