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Cereb Cortex. 2014 Jun;24(6):1601-8. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht015. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Inter- and intrahemispheric connectivity differences when reading Japanese Kanji and Hiragana.

Author information

1
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging.

Abstract

Unlike most languages that are written using a single script, Japanese uses multiple scripts including morphographic Kanji and syllabographic Hiragana and Katakana. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging with dynamic causal modeling to investigate competing theories regarding the neural processing of Kanji and Hiragana during a visual lexical decision task. First, a bilateral model investigated interhemispheric connectivity between ventral occipito-temporal (vOT) cortex and Broca's area ("pars opercularis"). We found that Kanji significantly increased the connection strength from right-to-left vOT. This is interpreted in terms of increased right vOT activity for visually complex Kanji being integrated into the left (i.e. language dominant) hemisphere. Secondly, we used a unilateral left hemisphere model to test whether Kanji and Hiragana rely preferentially on ventral and dorsal paths, respectively, that is, they have different intrahemispheric functional connectivity profiles. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that Kanji increased connectivity within the ventral path (V1 ↔ vOT ↔ Broca's area), and that Hiragana increased connectivity within the dorsal path (V1 ↔ supramarginal gyrus ↔ Broca's area). Overall, the results illustrate how the differential processing demands of Kanji and Hiragana influence both inter- and intrahemispheric interactions.

KEYWORDS:

dynamic causal modeling; functional connectivity; logograph; reading; visual word recognition

PMID:
23382515
PMCID:
PMC4014181
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bht015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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