The interaction between orthographic and phonological information in children: An fMRI study

Tali Bitan, Douglas D. Burman, Tai Li Chou, Dong Lu, Nadia E. Cone, Fan Cao, Jordan D. Bigio, James R. Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the neural representations of orthographic and phonological processing in children, while manipulating the consistency between orthographic and phonological information. Participants, aged 9-15, were scanned while performing rhyming and spelling judgments on pairs of visually presented words. The orthographic and phonological similarity between words in the pair was independently manipulated, resulting in four conditions. In the nonconflicting conditions, both orthography and phonology of the words were either (1) similar (lime-dime) or (2) different (staff-gain); in conflicting conditions, words had (3) similar phonology and different orthography (jazz-has) or (4) different phonology and similar orthography (pint-mint). The comparison between tasks resulted in greater activation for the rhyming task in bilateral inferior frontal gyri (BA 45/47), and greater activation for the spelling task in bilateral inferior/superior parietal lobules (BA 40/7), suggesting greater involvement of phonological and semantic processing in the rhyming task, and nonlinguistic spatial processing in the spelling task. Conflicting conditions were more difficult in both tasks and resulted in greater activation in the above regions. The results suggest that when children encounter inconsistency between orthographic and phonological information they show greater engagement of both orthographic and phonological processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-891
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Conflict
  • Inferior frontal gyrus
  • Rhyming
  • Spelling
  • Task-relevance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Anatomy


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