Cerebral Network for Implicit Chinese Character Processing: An fMRI Study

Cerebral Network for Implicit Chinese Character Processing: An fMRI Study

Xiujun Li (Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University, Japan), Chunlin Li (Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University, Japan), Jinglong Wu (Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University, Japan) and Qiyong Guo (Department of Radiology, Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-559-9.ch005
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Abstract

Recent event-related fMRI studies suggest that a left-lateralized network exists for reading Chinese words (to contrast two-character Chinese words and figures). In this study, the authors used a 3T fMRI to investigate brain activation when processing characters and figures in a visual discrimination task. Thirteen Chinese individuals were shown two Chinese characters (36 pairs) or two figures (36 pairs). The control task (two figures) was used to eliminate non-linguistic visual and motor confounds. The results showed that discrimination of Chinese characters is performed by a bilateral network that processes orthographic, phonological, and semantic features. Significant activation patterns were observed in the occipital region (BA17, 18, 19, and 37), temporal region (BA22 and 38), parietal region (BA7, 39, and 40), and frontal region (BA4, 6, 10, and 46) of the brain and in the cerebellum. The study concludes that a constellation of neural substrates provides a bilateral network that processes Chinese subjects.
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Language

Language is succinctly defined in our Glossary as a “human system of communication that uses arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols.” However, in practical terms, language is far too complicated, intriguing, and mysterious to be adequately explained by this definition. Language is a particular kind of system used for encoding and decoding information. Ever Since language (logos) and languages (logogn) were studied by the ancient grammarians, the term has had many definitions. The English word derives from the Latin word lingua meaning, “language, tongue,” with a reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root of “tongue,” a metaphor based on the use of this organ to generate speech.

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