Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Learning to read recycles visual cortical networks without destruction

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Science Advances  18 Sep 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 9, eaax0262
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0262
  • Fig. 1 Brain areas whose response to orthographic stimuli is modulated by literacy.

    (A) Network of brain areas showing responses modulated by literacy, projected on the single-subject MNI152 template brain. Red indicates areas whose response to viewing sentences was significantly positively correlated with literacy. Blue indicates brain areas whose response to viewing nonwords was significantly positively correlated with literacy. Magenta indicates overlap between the two. (B) Images show correlations between brain response to sentences and nonwords projected into axial and sagittal planes through the VWFA (at MNI coordinates −42, −55, −10), marked with a circle. Graphs show correlation coefficients for the relationship between literacy and brain response for visual stimuli, at peaks determined from the correlations between sentence reading and literacy; arrows indicate approximate location of peaks. Significant correlations are highlighted with white dots. r and P values are provided adjacent. Correlations that reach significance at P < 0.05 when applying a Bonferroni correction corrected for multiple comparisons within region of interest (ROI) (i.e., six comparisons) are indicated with a black dot on the white highlight. C, checkerboards; F, faces; H, houses; T, tools; FF, false fonts; NW, nonwords. Activation maps thresholded at P(unc.) < 0.001 and cluster-wise threshold of P(FWE) < 0.05.

  • Fig. 2 Group-level activation of ventral visual areas in response to visual categories (A to G).

    (B) and (G) show the significant responses at the group level to each category of stimulus presented during the visual run; planes of section are indicated in labels. Colors represent the indicated stimulus category in both brain projections and the graphs. The black line demarcates the range of x coordinates −58 to −22 mm (left) and 22 to 58 mm (right). The locus of the group VWFA is shown as a black dot filled in white. For clarity of display, only the top 5% of most significant voxels reaching the voxel-level threshold of P(unc.) < 0.001 and cluster-wise threshold of P(FWE) < 0.05 for the contrasts of each condition versus baseline are shown, projected on the MNI152 template brain. Note the substantial overlap between the activation maps of the different conditions (also evident in figs. S2 and S3). (A) and (D) respectively show the group mean responses of literate and illiterate individuals (±SEM) to each of the stimulus categories presented, at 4-mm intervals along the x axis of the plane through the group VWFA in the left hemisphere. (C) and (E) respectively illustrate the same data for the right hemisphere. (F) shows the correlation coefficient, r, for the relationship between literacy and brain response at the specified coordinates in the left hemisphere, and (H) shows the equivalent information for the right hemisphere; data points highlighted in white are those where there is a significant (P < 0.05) relationship between literacy and brain response. The correlation coefficients and their respective P values are tabulated in table S3. au, arbitrary units.

  • Fig. 3 Increased response to reading sentences in trained participants after training.

    Data projected on the MNI152 brain template at a voxel-wise statistical threshold of P < 0.001 uncorrected for multiple comparisons. Bottom: The brain areas implicated for the most part constitute a subset of the regions implicated in sentence reading and were found to have a level of response modulated by literacy at baseline.

  • Fig. 4 Significant correlation between word reading improvement and change in brain response to sentence reading in trained participants after training.

    Data projected on the MNI152 brain template at a voxel-wise statistical threshold of P < 0.001 uncorrected for multiple comparisons and significant at a cluster-level FWE-corrected threshold of P < 0.05 for multiple comparisons.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/5/9/eaax0262/DC1

    Supplementary Text

    Fig. S1. Modulation of nonword responses by literacy.

    Fig. S2. Activation maps for all conditions presented in the visual run.

    Fig. S3. Activation maps for all conditions presented in the localizer run.

    Fig. S4. Lateralization of responses to faces and houses.

    Fig. S5. Correlations between literacy and brain response in selected language-related cortical areas.

    Fig. S6. Participants’ literacy scores.

    Table S1. Participant demographic information and behavioral performance at both time 1 and time 2.

    Table S2. Significantly modulated brain responses to orthographic stimuli.

    Table S3. Correlation between literacy and brain response to visual categories in ventral temporal lobes.

    Table S4. Loci of peaks showing an increased activation in response to sentences after training, for the subtraction “pretraining versus posttraining” in the participants who underwent literacy training.

    Table S5. Loci of peaks showing an increase in activation in response to sentences after training, the magnitude of which is significantly correlated with the improvement in reading score in the participants who underwent literacy training.

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Supplementary Text
    • Fig. S1. Modulation of nonword responses by literacy.
    • Fig. S2. Activation maps for all conditions presented in the visual run.
    • Fig. S3. Activation maps for all conditions presented in the localizer run.
    • Fig. S4. Lateralization of responses to faces and houses.
    • Fig. S5. Correlations between literacy and brain response in selected language-related cortical areas.
    • Fig. S6. Participants’ literacy scores.
    • Table S1. Participant demographic information and behavioral performance at both time 1 and time 2.
    • Table S2. Significantly modulated brain responses to orthographic stimuli.
    • Table S3. Correlation between literacy and brain response to visual categories in ventral temporal lobes.
    • Table S4. Loci of peaks showing an increased activation in response to sentences after training, for the subtraction “pretraining versus posttraining” in the participants who underwent literacy training.
    • Table S5. Loci of peaks showing an increase in activation in response to sentences after training, the magnitude of which is significantly correlated with the improvement in reading score in the participants who underwent literacy training.

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