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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Spelling and reading are evolutionarily relatively new functions, and therefore it is plausible that they are accomplished by engaging neural networks initially devoted to other functions, such as object recognition in the case of reading. However, there are unique aspects of these complex tasks, such as the fact that certain words (e.g., “regular” words) never previously encountered can often be read accurately. Furthermore, spelling in many ways seems to be simply the reverse of reading, but the relationship is not quite so simple, at least in English. For example, the spoken word “lead” can be spelled led or lead, but the printed word lead can be pronounced like “led” or “lead” (rhyming with “feed”). Therefore, there may be some unique areas of the brain devoted to certain components of reading or spelling. This chapter reviews the cognitive processes underlying these tasks as well as areas of the brain that are thought to be necessary for these component processes (e.g., on the basis of individuals who are impaired in each component because of lesions in a particular area) and areas of the brain engaged in each component on the basis of functional imaging studies showing neural activation associated with a particular type of processing.

Keywords: reading, writing, dyslexia, dysgraphia, neuroimaging

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