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Deyue Yu, Yi Jiang, Gordon E. Legge, Sheng He; Locating the cortical bottleneck for slow reading in peripheral vision. Journal of Vision 2015;15(11):3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.11.3.
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Yu, Legge, Park, Gage, and Chung (2010) suggested that the neural bottleneck for slow peripheral reading is located in nonretinotopic areas. We investigated the potential rate-limiting neural site for peripheral reading using fMRI, and contrasted peripheral reading with recognition of peripherally presented line drawings of common objects. We measured the BOLD responses to both text (three-letter words/nonwords) and line-drawing objects presented either in foveal or peripheral vision (10° lower right visual field) at three presentation rates (2, 4, and 8/second). The statistically significant interaction effect of visual field × presentation rate on the BOLD response for text but not for line drawings provides evidence for distinctive processing of peripheral text. This pattern of results was obtained in all five regions of interest (ROIs). At the early retinotopic cortical areas, the BOLD signal slightly increased with increasing presentation rate for foveal text, and remained fairly constant for peripheral text. In the Occipital Word-Responsive Area (OWRA), Visual Word Form Area (VWFA), and object sensitive areas (LO and PHA), the BOLD responses to text decreased with increasing presentation rate for peripheral but not foveal presentation. In contrast, there was no rate-dependent reduction in BOLD response for line-drawing objects in all the ROIs for either foveal or peripheral presentation. Only peripherally presented text showed a distinctive rate-dependence pattern. Although it is possible that the differentiation starts to emerge at the early retinotopic cortical representation, the neural bottleneck for slower reading of peripherally presented text may be a special property of peripheral text processing in object category selective cortex.
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