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The contribution of the left mid-fusiform cortical thickness to Chinese and English reading in a large Chinese sample


Previous functional neuroimaging studies have shown that the left mid-fusiform cortex plays a critical role in reading. However, there is very limited research relating this region's anatomical structure to reading performance either in native or second language. Using structural MRI and three reading tasks (Chinese characters, English words, and alphabetic pseudowords) and a non-reading task (visual-auditory learning), this study investigated the contributions of the left mid-fusiform cortical thickness to reading in a large sample of 226 Chinese subjects. Results showed that the cortical thickness in the left mid-fusiform gyrus was positively correlated with performance on all three reading tasks but not with the performance on the non-reading task. Our findings provide structural evidence for the left mid-fusiform cortex as the "gateway" region for reading Chinese and English. The absence of the association between the left mid-fusiform cortical thickness and non-reading performance implied the specific role of this area in reading skills, not in general language skills.

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