Poster E59, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Language-modulated perceptual compensation: Functional connectivity analysis of L1 and L2 reading impairments in Chinese-English bilingual children
Manli Zhang1, Xiaoxia Feng2, Yue Gao2, Xiujie Yang1, Weiyi Xie1, Feng Ai1, Hehui Li2, Xingnan Zhao1, Chi Zhang1, Li Liu2, Guosheng Ding2, Xiangzhi Meng1; 1Peking University, China, 2Beijing Normal University, China
Although neural alterations associated with reading deficits in native language have attracted extensive investigation, the number of studies regarding L2 reading difficulty is still limited. In current research, we conducted an fMRI experiment wherein 74 bilingual children (i.e. 29 typically developing (TD), 23 poor Chinese readers (PCR) and 22 poor English readers (PER)) passively viewed images of Chinese characters and English words. We defined ROIs through identifying brain areas activated during both L1 and L2 processing, or selectively to either of the languages. Intriguingly, we did not observe any group differences in terms of the activation within these ROIs. Further analysis demonstrated a reduced connectivity between left inferior frontal and left supramarginal gyrus in PCR compared to TD, which was positively correlated with subjects’ phonological scores. In contrary, PCR was with a higher connectivity between left superior temporal and left superior frontal gyrus, left angular gyrus and right visual cortex, which were significantly correlated with orthographic and rapid automatized naming (RAN) performances, respectively. For PER, they showed decreased connectivity between right middle temporal gyrus (MTG) and bilateral precuneus, while their connection between bilateral MTGs was enhanced in comparison to TD, all of which were correlated with phonological performance. Together, these data suggest that children with disfluent reading tend to rely heavily on sensory cortices while processing written materials. However, this effect is subject to the modulation of different language systems. Specifically, PCR employ visual cortex to facilitate grapheme-phoneme mapping, while PER lean upon auditory processing to compensate inferior phonological awareness.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Development & aging