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The visual word form area (VWFA) is part of both language and attention circuitry

Abstract : While predominant models of visual word form area (VWFA) function argue for its specific role in decoding written language, other accounts propose a more general role of VWFA in complex visual processing. However, a comprehensive examination of structural and functional VWFA circuits and their relationship to behavior has been missing. Here, using high-resolution multimodal imaging data from a large Human Connectome Project cohort (N = 313), we demonstrate robust patterns of VWFA connectivity with both canonical language and attentional networks. Brain-behavior relationships revealed a striking pattern of double dissociation: structural connectivity of VWFA with lateral temporal language network predicted language, but not visuo-spatial attention abilities, while VWFA connectivity with dorsal fronto-parietal attention network predicted visuo-spatial attention, but not language abilities. Our findings support a multiplex model of VWFA function characterized by distinct circuits for integrating language and attention, and point to connectivity-constrained cognition as a key principle of human brain organization.
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https://hal.inria.fr/hal-02401938
Contributor : Demian Wassermann <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 11:38:17 AM
Last modification on : Monday, February 10, 2020 - 6:13:44 PM

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Lang Chen, Demian Wassermann, Daniel Abrams, John Kochalka, Guillermo Gallardo-Diez, et al.. The visual word form area (VWFA) is part of both language and attention circuitry. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2019, 10 (1), ⟨10.1038/s41467-019-13634-z⟩. ⟨hal-02401938⟩

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