Prominent activation of the bilateral inferior parietal lobule of literate compared with illiterate subjects during Chinese logographic processing

Jinglong Wu, Xiujun Li, Jiajia Yang, Chang Cai, Hongzan Sun, Qiyong Guo

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Chinese is a logographic language system that differs from alphabetic languages, and some of the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying Chinese logographic reading also differ from those underlying alphabetic word reading. However, whether education level effects the neural activation associated with logographic processing of Chinese is still unknown. In the present study, 11 Chinese illiterate and 11 literate (age-matched) subjects participated in an event-related fMRI experiment with Chinese character discrimination (CD) and figure discrimination (FD) tasks. All subjects were asked to view the character or figure pairs and discriminate whether the characters or figures of each stimuli pair were the same or not using response keys. Both literate and illiterate subjects activated a widely distributed cerebral network, including the bilateral inferior, middle and superior frontal gyri, superior temporal gyrus and parietal lobe, in the CD task. Finally, we directly compared the activations of literate subjects with illiterate subjects. The results suggest that the bilateral parts of the angular gyrus and supramarginal gyrus are more active for literate than illiterate subjects in the CD task. We found no significant group difference in the FD task. Therefore, the present results may indicate that education level effects the neural activation associated with the logographic processing of Chinese.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-337
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012



  • Angular gyrus
  • Chinese character
  • Fmri
  • Illiterate
  • Literate
  • Supramarginal gyrus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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