Different roles of the posterior inferior frontal gyrus in Chinese character form judgment differences between literate and illiterate individuals

Jinglong Wu, Bin Wang, Tianyi Yan, Xiujun Li, Xuexiang Bao, Qiyong Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the present study, we used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explore the different roles of the posterior inferior frontal gyrus (pIFG) in Chinese character form judgment between literate and illiterate subjects. Using event-related fMRI, 24 healthy right-handed Chinese subjects (12 literates and 12 illiterates) were asked to perform Chinese character and figure form judgment tasks. The blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) differences in pIFG were examined with general linear modeling (GLM). We found differences in reaction times and accuracy between subjects as they performed these tasks. These behavioral differences reflect the different cognitive demands of character form judgment for literate and illiterate individuals. The results showed differences in the BOLD response patterns in the pIFG between the two discrimination tasks and the two subject groups. A comparison of the character and figure tasks showed that literate and illiterate subjects had similar BOLD responses in the inferior frontal gyrus. However, differences in behavioral performance suggest that the pIFG plays a different role in Chinese character form judgment for each subject group. In literate subjects, the left pIFG mediated access to phonology in achieving Chinese character form judgment, whereas the right pIFG participated in the processing of the orthography of Chinese characters. In illiterate subjects, the bilateral frontal gyrus participated in the visual-spatial processing of Chinese characters to achieve form judgment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Volume1431
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 11 2012

Keywords

  • Chinese characters
  • Illiterate
  • Inferior frontal gyrus
  • Judgment
  • Language
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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