Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
XML PDF e-pub
PDF e-Pub

Section: New Results

The visual word form area (VWFA) is part of both language and attention circuitry

While predominant models of visual word form area (VWFA) function argue for its specific role in decoding written language, other accounts propose a more general role of VWFA in complex visual processing. However, a comprehensive examination of structural and functional VWFA circuits and their relationship to behavior has been missing. Here, using high-resolution multimodal imaging data from a large Human Connectome Project cohort (N = 313), we demonstrate robust patterns of VWFA connectivity with both canonical language and attentional networks. Brain-behavior relationships revealed a striking pattern of double dissociation: structural connectivity of VWFA with lateral temporal language network predicted language, but not visuo-spatial attention abilities, while VWFA connectivity with dorsal fronto-parietal attention network predicted visuo-spatial attention, but not language abilities. Our findings support a multiplex model of VWFA function characterized by distinct circuits for integrating language and attention, and point to connectivity-constrained cognition as a key principle of human brain organization.

Figure 3. Structural connectivity of VWFA with STS nodes (anterior, middle, and posterior STS) was significantly correlated with individuals’ performance on picture vocabulary and word reading tasks, but not on the Flanker visuo-spatial attention task. b Structural connectivity of VWFA with fronto-parietal attention network nodes (FEF, aIPS, pIPS, and MT+) was significantly correlated with individuals’ performance on the Flanker attention task but not on the word reading or picture vocabulary tasks. Y-axis is age-adjusted performance scores on cognitive tasks and x-axis presents the predicted performance scores on cognitive tasks from the probability of structural connectivity of VWFA to either the language or the attention network ROIs.

More information can be found in [7].