Poster A35, Thursday, August 16, 10:15 am – 12:00 pm, Room 2000AB

The neural correlates of the interaction between phonological and semantic processing in Reading Chinese characters

Min Dang1, Rui Zhang1, Xiangyang Zhang1, Xiaojuan Wang1;1Shaanxi Normal University

A general agreement of the contemporary models of visual word reading is that there exists an interaction between phonological and semantic processing. The logographic property of Chinese writing system provides a unique opportunity to examine the interaction. However, the underlying neural mechanism remains unclear. The current fMRI study addressed this issue by manipulating the phonetic consistency (high vs. low consistency of the character’s pronunciation to those of members in the same phonetic family) and the semantic transparency (transparent vs. opaque meaning of the semantic radical to the character’s meaning). Participant performed a naming task in the scanner. The fMRI result replicated previous consistency effect that the low consistent characters activated left frontal regions at IFG, MFG, and insula than high consistent characters. The result also showed a semantic effect that the transparent characters activated bilateral AG and left ATL than opaque characters. The most interesting finding was the neural signature of the interaction between the phonological and semantic processing. For low consistent characters with weak phonological cues, the semantic effect was observed that the transparent characters increased activation at AG and ATL for semantic processing, whereas the opaque characters relied on the phonological neural circuit showing more activation at FG and IFG for phonological processing. On the contrast, for high consistent characters with strong phonological cues, no semantic effect was observed in the reading network. The current findings offer the first clear evidence of the neural correlates of the interaction between semantic and phonological processing in reading Chinese characters.

Topic Area: Meaning: Lexical Semantics