Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How do we understand written language?

Date:
December 16, 2009
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
How do we know that certain combinations of letters have certain meanings? Reading and spelling are complex processes, involving several different areas of the brain, but researchers have now identified a specific part of the brain -- named the left fusiform gyrus -- which is necessary for normal, rapid understanding of the meaning of written text as well as correct word spelling.

How do we know that certain combinations of letters have certain meanings? Reading and spelling are complex processes, involving several different areas of the brain, but researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the USA have now identified a specific part of the brain -- named the left fusiform gyrus -- which is necessary for normal, rapid understanding of the meaning of written text as well as correct word spelling. Their findings are published in the February 2010 issue of Cortex.

Related Articles


Dr Kyrana Tsapkini, from the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Dr Brenda Rapp, from the Department of Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University, studied the reading comprehension and spelling abilities of a patient who had undergone surgical removal of part of his brain due to a tumor. The patient's reading and spelling abilities had been above average prior to the surgery. They tested the patient and a group of control participants using 17 experimental tasks, which evaluated their comprehension and production of written language, spoken language, as well as their processing of other visual categories such as faces and objects.

The results of the study revealed that the patient was able to understand the meaning of spoken language as rapidly as the other participants and was similarly able to process objects and faces in a normal way. However, he showed significant delays in understanding the meaning of written text and also had difficulty in producing accurate spellings when writing dictated text, suggesting that these abilities required the use of the brain area, which had been removed.

According to the authors, the findings provide clear evidence that there are particular structures within this part of the brain -- the left mid-fusiform gyrus -- that are "specialized and necessary for normal orthographic processing."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tsapkini et al. The orthography-specific functions of the left fusiform gyrus: Evidence of modality and category specificity. Cortex, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2009.02.025

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "How do we understand written language?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216103600.htm>.
Elsevier. (2009, December 16). How do we understand written language?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216103600.htm
Elsevier. "How do we understand written language?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216103600.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins