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Picturing words? Sensorimotor cortex activation for printed words in child and adult readers

Dekker, T; Mareschal, D; Johnson, MH; Sereno, MI; (2014) Picturing words? Sensorimotor cortex activation for printed words in child and adult readers. Brain & Language , 139 pp. 58-67. 10.1016/j.bandl.2014.09.009. Green open access

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Abstract

Learning to read involves associating abstract visual shapes with familiar meanings. Embodiment theories suggest that word meaning is at least partially represented in distributed sensorimotor networks in the brain (Barsalou, 2008; Pulvermueller, 2013). We explored how reading comprehension develops by tracking when and how printed words start activating these “semantic” sensorimotor representations as children learn to read. Adults and children aged 7-10 years showed clear category-specific cortical specialization for tool versus animal pictures during a one-back categorisation task. Thus, sensorimotor representations for these categories were in place at all ages. However, co-activation of these same brain regions by the visual objects’ written names was only present in adults, even though all children could read and comprehend all presented words, showed adult-like task performance, and older children were proficient readers. It thus takes years of training and expert reading skill before spontaneous processing of printed words’ sensorimotor meanings develops in childhood.

Type: Article
Title: Picturing words? Sensorimotor cortex activation for printed words in child and adult readers
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.bandl.2014.09.009
Publisher version: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/brain-and-languag...
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1452724
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