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Nancy Kanwisher, David Osher, Elizabeth Norton, Deanna Youssoufian, Sara Beach, Jenelle Feather, John Gabrieli, Zeynep Saygin; Connectivity precedes function in the development of the visual word form area. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):205. doi: 10.1167/16.12.205.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
What determines the cortical location where a given functionally specific region will arise in development? Here we test the hypothesis that functionally specific regions develop in their characteristic locations because of pre-existing differences in the extrinsic connectivity of that region to the rest of the brain. We exploit the Visual Word Form Area (VWFA) as a test case, because it arises only after children learn to read. We scanned children with diffusion and functional imaging at age five, before they learned to read, and at age 8, after they learned to read. We find the VWFA develops functionally in this interval and that its location in a particular child at age 8 can be predicted from that child's connectivity fingerprints (but not functional responses) at age 5. These results suggest that early connectivity instructs the functional development of the VWFA, possibly reflecting a general mechanism of cortical development.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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