Poster D59, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Orthographic and phonological sensitivity in the reading network in skilled deaf readers.
Laurie S. Glezer1, Jill Weisberg1, Cindy O'Grady1, Stephen McCullough1, Katherine J. Midgley1, Phillip J. Holcomb1, Karen Emmorey1; 1San Diego State University
People who are born deaf frequently have difficulty learning to read. Numerous studies have examined reading in people who are deaf, yet to date there is no clear understanding of what contributes to these reading difficulties or why some deaf people are good readers and others are not. Previous studies in typical hearing readers show that within the reading network there are regions that specialize in processing orthography and others that specialize in processing phonology during reading (Glezer et al., 2016). We used fMRI rapid adaptation in deaf adults who were skilled readers. We presented pairs of words that differed in orthographic and phonological similarity to examine neural selectivity in three functional ROIs in the left hemisphere: temporoparietal cortex (TPC), inferior frontal cortex (IFC), and the visual word form area (VWFA). Our results showed that in skilled deaf readers, there was no adaptation within the VWFA for homophones or words that were 1-letter different, suggesting neurons in this region are finely tuned to whole words at the orthographic level. In contrast, in the TPC, there was adaptation for homophone pairs, suggesting sensitivity to phonological codes in this region. Finally, in the IFC there was sensitivity to orthographic overlap but no sensitivity to phonological overlap. These results parallel the results of Glezer et al. for hearing readers, suggesting that skilled deaf readers engage the reading network in the same manner as hearing readers, despite poorer speech-based phonological skills.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Lexicon