Neural correlates of language and non-language visuospatial processing in adolescents with reading disability

Joshua John Diehl, Stephen J. Frost, Gordon Sherman, W. Einar Mencl, Anish Kurian, Peter Molfese, Nicole Landi, Jonathan Preston, Anja Soldan, Robert K. Fulbright, Jay G. Rueckl, Mark S. Seidenberg, Fumiko Hoeft, Kenneth R. Pugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Despite anecdotal evidence of relative visuospatial processing strengths in individuals with reading disability (RD), only a few studies have assessed the presence or the extent of these putative strengths. The current study examined the cognitive and neural bases of visuospatial processing abilities in adolescents with RD relative to typically developing (TD) peers. Using both cognitive tasks and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) we contrasted printed word recognition with non-language visuospatial processing tasks. Behaviorally, lower reading skill was related to a visuospatial processing advantage (shorter latencies and equivalent accuracy) on a geometric figure processing task, similar to findings shown in two published studies. FMRI analyses revealed key group by task interactions in patterns of cortical and subcortical activation, particularly in frontostriatal networks, and in the distributions of right and left hemisphere activation on the two tasks. The results are discussed in terms of a possible neural tradeoff in visuospatial processing in RD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-666
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Dyslexia
  • FMRI
  • Impossible figures
  • Reading
  • Visuospatial processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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