The Centre for French and Linguistics at UTSC presents a lecture by Tali Bitan of the University of Haifa in Israel, who is currently serving as a visiting professor of speech-language pathology here at the U of T and a visiting scientist at the Rotman Institute at Baycrest Hospital:
"Many ways to read your vowels: fMRI studies of reading in English and in Hebrew."
Monday, November 3, 2014, 12-1 PM (with a subsequent Q & A session), MW130
Findings from the last decade demonstrating the enormous malleability of the nervous system throughout life are in consonance with reading theories suggesting that the neurocognitive mechanisms involved in reading depend on the properties of the specific language and the readers’ experience with its orthography. In this talk I will review three sets of experiments in which we examined the neurocognitive mechanisms involved in reading single words, using fMRI: In Hebrew, in English and in an artificial orthography.
Two unique aspects of Hebrew are its complex morphological structure and the two versions of its orthography (with and without diacritic marks). In the first set of experiments we examined the effects of orthographic transparency and morphological complexity on the brain in skilled and Dyslexic adult readers, as well as children. Our results point to the overriding effect of experience on processing, beyond orthographic transparency, and to the compensatory potential of morphological decomposition.
In the second set of studies we examined how English reading children process the conflicting orthographic and phonological information typical of the opaque English orthography. Our brain connectivity results show developmental increase in top-down processing, and sex differences in the connectivity between hemispheres. In the third set of studies we examined the effect of reading instruction method on the brains of adults learning to read in an artificial script. Our results suggest that different learning mechanisms are involved in explicit and implicit reading instruction, and that only explicit instruction on the smallest units of mappingwould result in stable representations and a generalizable reading procedure.
Feel free to bring along your lunch!