Send to

Choose Destination
Brain Lang. 2013 May;125(2):184-93. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2012.02.003. Epub 2012 Mar 6.

Dissociating visual form from lexical frequency using Japanese.

Author information

Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, UCL, London, UK.


In Japanese, the same word can be written in either morphographic Kanji or syllabographic Hiragana and this provides a unique opportunity to disentangle a word's lexical frequency from the frequency of its visual form - an important distinction for understanding the neural information processing in regions engaged by reading. Behaviorally, participants responded more quickly to high than low frequency words and to visually familiar relative to less familiar words, independent of script. Critically, the imaging results showed that visual familiarity, as opposed to lexical frequency, had a strong effect on activation in ventral occipito-temporal cortex. Activation here was also greater for Kanji than Hiragana words and this was not due to their inherent differences in visual complexity. These findings can be understood within a predictive coding framework in which vOT receives bottom-up information encoding complex visual forms and top-down predictions from regions encoding non-visual attributes of the stimulus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center