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Brain. 1997 May;120 ( Pt 5):739-59.

Phonological and orthographic components of word recognition. A PET-rCBF study.

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Child Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Pronunciation (of irregular/inconsistent words and of pseudowords) and lexical decision-making tasks were used with 15O PET to examine the neural correlates of phonological and orthographic processing in 14 healthy right-handed men (aged 18-40 years). Relative to a visual-fixation control task, all four experimental tasks elicited a left-lateralized stream of activation involving the lingual and fusiform gyri, perirolandic cortex, thalamus and anterior cingulate. Both pronunciation tasks activated the left superior temporal gyrus, with significantly greater activation seen there during phonological (pseudoword) than during orthographic (real word) pronunciation. The left inferior frontal cortex was activated by both decision-making tasks; more intense and widespread activation was seen there during phonological, than during orthographic, decision making, with the activation during phonological decision-making extending into the left insula. Correlations of reference voxels in the left superior temporal gyrus and left inferior frontal region with the rest of the brain were highly similar for the phonological and orthographic versions of each task type. These results are consistent with connectionist models of reading, which hypothesize that both real words and pseudowords are processed within a common neural network.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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