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  • Hemispheric specialization for visual words is shaped by attention to sublexical units during initial learning. Brain and language Yoncheva, Y. N., Wise, J., McCandliss, B. 2015; 145-146: 23-33


    Selective attention to grapheme-phoneme mappings during learning can impact the circuitry subsequently recruited during reading. Here we trained literate adults to read two novel scripts of glyph words containing embedded letters under different instructions. For one script, learners linked each embedded letter to its corresponding sound within the word (grapheme-phoneme focus); for the other, decoding was prevented so entire words had to be memorized. Post-training, ERPs were recorded during a reading task on the trained words within each condition and on untrained but decodable (transfer) words. Within this condition, reaction-time patterns suggested both trained and transfer words were accessed via sublexical units, yet a left-lateralized, late ERP response showed an enhanced left lateralization for transfer words relative to trained words, potentially reflecting effortful decoding. Collectively, these findings show that selective attention to grapheme-phoneme mappings during learning drives the lateralization of circuitry that supports later word recognition. This study thus provides a model example of how different instructional approaches to the same material may impact changes in brain circuitry.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bandl.2015.04.001

    View details for PubMedID 25935827

  • Hemispheric specialization for visual words is shaped by attention to sublexical units during initial learning BRAIN AND LANGUAGE Yoncheva, Y. N., Wise, J., McCandliss, B. 2015; 145: 23-33
  • Neuroimaging correlates of handwriting quality as children learn to read and write FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE Gimenez, P., Bugescu, N., Black, J. M., Hancock, R., Pugh, K., Nagamine, M., Kutner, E., Mazaika, P., Hendren, R., McCandliss, B. D., Hoeft, F. 2014; 8


    Reading and writing are related but separable processes that are crucial skills to possess in modern society. The neurobiological basis of reading acquisition and development, which critically depends on phonological processing, and to a lesser degree, beginning writing as it relates to letter perception, are increasingly being understood. Yet direct relationships between writing and reading development, in particular, with phonological processing is not well understood. The main goal of the current preliminary study was to examine individual differences in neurofunctional and neuroanatomical patterns associated with handwriting in beginning writers/readers. In 46 5-6 year-old beginning readers/writers, ratings of handwriting quality, were rank-ordered from best to worst and correlated with brain activation patterns during a phonological task using functional MRI, and with regional gray matter volume from structural T1 MRI. Results showed that better handwriting was associated negatively with activation and positively with gray matter volume in an overlapping region of the pars triangularis of right inferior frontal gyrus. This region, in particular in the left hemisphere in adults and more bilaterally in young children, is known to be important for decoding, phonological processing, and subvocal rehearsal. We interpret the dissociation in the directionality of the association in functional activation and morphometric properties in the right inferior frontal gyrus in terms of neural efficiency, and suggest future studies that interrogate the relationship between the neural mechanisms underlying reading and writing development.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00155

    View details for Web of Science ID 000333052300001

    View details for PubMedID 24678293

  • Neural systems predicting long-term outcome in dyslexia PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Hoeft, F., McCandliss, B. D., Black, J. M., Gantman, A., Zakerani, N., Hulme, C., Lyytinen, H., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Glover, G. H., Reiss, A. L., Gabrieli, J. D. 2011; 108 (1): 361-366


    Individuals with developmental dyslexia vary in their ability to improve reading skills, but the brain basis for improvement remains largely unknown. We performed a prospective, longitudinal study over 2.5 y in children with dyslexia (n = 25) or without dyslexia (n = 20) to discover whether initial behavioral or brain measures, including functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), can predict future long-term reading gains in dyslexia. No behavioral measure, including widely used and standardized reading and language tests, reliably predicted future reading gains in dyslexia. Greater right prefrontal activation during a reading task that demanded phonological awareness and right superior longitudinal fasciculus (including arcuate fasciculus) white-matter organization significantly predicted future reading gains in dyslexia. Multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) of these two brain measures, using linear support vector machine (SVM) and cross-validation, predicted significantly above chance (72% accuracy) which particular child would or would not improve reading skills (behavioral measures were at chance). MVPA of whole-brain activation pattern during phonological processing predicted which children with dyslexia would improve reading skills 2.5 y later with >90% accuracy. These findings identify right prefrontal brain mechanisms that may be critical for reading improvement in dyslexia and that may differ from typical reading development. Brain measures that predict future behavioral outcomes (neuroprognosis) may be more accurate, in some cases, than available behavioral measures.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1008950108

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285915000067

    View details for PubMedID 21173250

  • Scientific and Pragmatic Challenges for Bridging Education and Neuroscience EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER Varma, S., McCandliss, B. D., Schwartz, D. L. 2008; 37 (3): 140-152