Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 184, Issue 3, pp 427–433

Optical imaging of phonological processing in two distinct orthographies


    • Department of PsychologyNational Chung Cheng University
  • Jyotsna Vaid
    • Department of PsychologyTexas A&M University
  • Heather Bortfeld
    • Department of PsychologyTexas A&M University
  • David A. Boas
    • Anthinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical ImagingMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Research Note

DOI: 10.1007/s00221-007-1200-0

Cite this article as:
Chen, H., Vaid, J., Bortfeld, H. et al. Exp Brain Res (2008) 184: 427. doi:10.1007/s00221-007-1200-0


Recent fMRI studies comparing the processing of alphabetic versus logographic scripts provide evidence for shared and orthography-specific regions of neural activity. The present study used near-infrared spectroscopy to compare (within and across brain regions) the time course of neural activation for these two distinct orthographies. Native readers of English and of Chinese were tested on a homophone judgment task. Differences across groups were obtained in the time course of hemodynamic change for the left middle frontal, left superior temporal, and left supramarginal gyri. Results thus support previous findings using fMRI and suggest that different neural mappings arise depending on whether an individual has learned to process written language using an alphabetic or logographic script.


Near infrared spectroscopyOptical imagingPhonological processingHomophone judgmentWord recognitionWriting system

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007