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Visual Experience Shapes Orthographic Representations in the Visual Word Form Area

Wimmer, H; Ludersdorfer, P; Richlan, F; Kronbichler, M; (2016) Visual Experience Shapes Orthographic Representations in the Visual Word Form Area. Psychological Science , 27 (9) pp. 1240-1248. 10.1177/0956797616657319. Green open access

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Abstract

Current neurocognitive research suggests that the efficiency of visual word recognition rests on abstract memory representations of written letters and words stored in the visual word form area (VWFA) in the left ventral occipitotemporal cortex. These representations are assumed to be invariant to visual characteristics such as font and case. In the present functional MRI study, we tested this assumption by presenting written words and varying the case format of the initial letter of German nouns (which are always capitalized) as well as German adjectives and adverbs (both usually in lowercase). As evident from a Word Type × Case Format interaction, activation in the VWFA was greater to words presented in unfamiliar case formats relative to familiar case formats. Our results suggest that neural representations of written words in the VWFA are not fully abstract and still contain information about the visual format in which words are most frequently perceived.

Type: Article
Title: Visual Experience Shapes Orthographic Representations in the Visual Word Form Area
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0956797616657319
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797616657319
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2016 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav
Keywords: fMRI, neuroimaging, orthographic representations, reading, visual word form area, visual word recognition
UCL classification: 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 > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1561804
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