Journal of Neuropsychology

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Volume 3 Issue 1 (March 2009), Pages 1-143

Learning orthography in adulthood: A magnetoencephalographic study (pages 17-30)

Previous work demonstrated that there were differences between literate and comparable illiterate adult subjects. These differences were found in the performance on several tests and on patterns of activation on PET and fMRI. In the present study subjects that learned to read and to write in adulthood (being previously completely illiterate) were compared to controls, that is subjects that learned at school at the proper age. Magnetoencephalography was done while subjects were reading words. Results showed that, although the reading performance was the same in both groups while performing the task, the pattern of source distribution was different between groups. There were more late sources in right temporo‐parietal areas of late literates compared to controls and more late sources in left inferior frontal cortex in control subjects. It is concluded that learning to read in adulthood is a process supported by different brain structures from the ones used when learning occurs at the proper age. This may suggest that the same task can be similarly performed by relying on diverse functional brain anatomic networks.

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