The supramarginal and angular gyri underlie orthographic competence in Spanish language

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HighlightsAdults with lower orthographic knowledge (LSS) are slower readers in Spanish.Left angular and supramarginal regions hyper-activate in LSS on spelling decisions.When spelling-skilled subjects (HSS) read pseudohomophones, ACG is activated.fMRI brain activations in HSS represent higher specialization for word recognition.Brain activation underlying spelling decision reflects orthographic skills in Spanish.Orthographic competence allows automatic word recognition and reading fluency. To elucidate how the orthographic competence in Spanish-speaking adults might affect the neurofunctional mechanisms of visual word recognition, 32 young adults equally divided in two groups (HSS: High Spelling Skills, and LSS: Low Spelling Skills) were evaluated using fMRI methods, while they performed an orthographic recognition task involving pseudohomophones. HSS achieved significantly more correct responses and lower reaction times than LSS. Interestingly, LSS showed greater activation in the left angular and supramarginal regions with increased bilateral activation pattern in the inferior frontal gyrus, and the anterior temporal and posterior parietal regions. In contrast, HSS showed a more left-lateralized pattern over these regions along with higher activation of the anterior cingulated gyrus for misspelled words. Results suggest that the differences found in cortical activation patterns might be explained by the higher degree of specialization for word recognition in HSS, a group of participants that due to their greater orthographic skills require less engagement of processing resources to succeed in the task.

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