An fMRI study with written Chinese

Li Hai Tan, Ching Mei Feng, Peter T. Fox, Jia Hong Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (ER-fMRI) was used to investigate how the human brain processes, phonology and transforms a word's visual form (orthography) into phonological form during reading in logographic Chinese, a writing system that differs markedly from alphabetic languages. We found that reading aloud of irregular words produced larger MR signal intensity changes over extensive regions involving left infero-middle frontal cortex, left motor cortex, right infero-frontal gyri, bilateral anterior superior temporal areas, and anterior cingulate cortex. Right superior parietal lobule, the cuneus in bilateral visual cortex, and thalamus participated in the processing of irregular, but not regular, words. These findings were discussed in comparison to neuroimaging findings from alphabetic languages, as well as in relation to models of reading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 22 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Language
  • Phonological effects
  • Reading
  • Reading Chinese
  • Regularity effect
  • Word recognition
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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