Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 184, Issue 3, pp 427–433

Optical imaging of phonological processing in two distinct orthographies

  • Hsin-Chin Chen
  • Jyotsna Vaid
  • Heather Bortfeld
  • David A. Boas
Research Note


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 spectroscopy Optical imaging Phonological processing Homophone judgment Word recognition Writing system 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hsin-Chin Chen
    • 1
  • Jyotsna Vaid
    • 2
  • Heather Bortfeld
    • 2
  • David A. Boas
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNational Chung Cheng UniversityMing-Hsiung Chia-YiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Anthinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical ImagingMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolCharlestownUSA

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