We read jubmled wrods effortlessly, but the neural correlates of this remarkable ability remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that viewing a jumbled word activates a visual representation that is compared to known words. To test this hypothesis, we devised a purely visual model in which neurons tuned to letter shape respond to longer strings in a compositional manner by linearly summing letter responses. We found that dissimilarities between letter strings in this model can explain human performance on visual search, and responses to jumbled words in word reading tasks. Brain imaging revealed that viewing a string activates this letter-based code in the lateral occipital (LO) region and that subsequent comparisons to stored words are consistent with activations of the visual word form area (VWFA). Thus, a compositional neural code potentially contributes to efficient reading.
- SP Arun
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: All subjects gave informed consent to an experimental protocol approved by the Institutional Human Ethics Committee of the Indian Institute of Science (IHEC # 6-15092017).
- Chris I Baker, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, United States
© 2020, Agrawal et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.