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VL2 04/09/08 Koo, Maisog, LaSasso, Crain & Eden The Effect of Sensory Experience and Language on the Neural Signature of Reading

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The functional anatomy of single-word reading has been investigated extensively in hearing children and adults, yet little is known about the neural circuitry involved in reading in the deaf population. In this presentation we report on recent studies employing functional MRI technology in conjunction with behavioral measures to address the following questions: What effect does sensory experience have on the neural substrates of single-word reading? How does early language experience modulate the functional neuroanatomy of reading? Our results demonstrate that brain regions traditionally considered to be key players in the neural signature of reading are not necessarily invoked in deaf users of ASL, suggesting there are multiple ways in which the brain organizes itself to achieve proficient reading. Our data in deaf cuers, on the other hand, indicates little difference in the functional anatomy of reading compared to hearing speakers and suggests that the sensory modality by which English is accessed has little impact on the brain. These findings have important implications for our understanding of the differential effects of sensory versus language experience on the reading brain.

Guinevere Eden, Ph.D., is Co-science director with VL2 and teaches neuroscience at Georgetown University. She specializes in research on dyslexia.

Daniel Koo, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral research fellow. He specializes in research on cued speech usage by Daniel Koo, Joe Maisog, Carol LaSasso, Kelly Crain, Guinevere Eden.
April 9

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