Poster E67, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
A cross-sectional and longitudinal study of white matter pathways affected by literacy training
Alastair Smith1, Mark Bastin2, Uttam Kumar3, Ramesh K. Mishra4, Viveka N. Tripathi5, Anupam Guleria3, Jay P. Singh5, Falk Huettig1; 1Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, 2University of Edinburgh, 3Centre of Biomedical Research (CBMR), Lucknow, 4University of Hyderabad, 5University of Allahabad
Previous studies that have aimed to isolate white matter tracts affected by literacy training have examined differences in structural connectivity between typical readers and either atypical social populations or populations with reading impairments (e.g. dyslexia). Differences identified between such groups may therefore be driven by such atypical factors. In this study we avoid such confounds by performing the first combined cross-sectional and longitudinal study in which structural differences are examined between literate and illiterate groups recruited from the same societal community (two villages in a rural area near Lucknow, India). Using diffusion tensor imaging tractography we examine whether the integrity of 13 white matter tracts identified within the literature as influential for reading differ between a group of literates, and two illiterate groups, one of which was exposed to a literacy training program in which they learned to read and write Devanagari script. This design permitted investigating effects of literacy cross-sectionally across groups before training (N= 91) as well as longitudinally (training group N= 23). Cross-sectional analysis performed prior to training revealed that literate and illiterate groups differed in the density of the splenium section of the corpus callosum (F(1,90) = 4.18, p = 0.044). Similarly, density in the splenium differed between fractional anisotropy values collected prior and post training for the illiterate group exposed to literacy training (F(1, 50) = 6.62, p = 0.013). This data therefore offers further support to claims that the splenium section of the corpus callosum plays an important role in typical reading acquisition.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other