Combined ERP/fMRI evidence for early word recognition effects in the posterior inferior temporal gyrus

Joseph Dien, Eric S. Brian, Dennis L. Molfese, Brian T. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Two brain regions with established roles in reading are the posterior middle temporal gyrus and the posterior fusiform gyrus (FG). Lesion studies have also suggested that the region located between them, the posterior inferior temporal gyrus (pITG), plays a central role in word recognition. However, these lesion results could reflect disconnection effects since neuroimaging studies have not reported consistent lexicality effects in pITG. Here we tested whether these reported pITG lesion effects are due to disconnection effects or not using parallel Event-related Potentials (ERP)/functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. We predicted that the Recognition Potential (RP), a left-lateralized ERP negativity that peaks at about 200-250msec, might be the electrophysiological correlate of pITG activity and that conditions that evoke the RP (perceptual degradation) might therefore also evoke pITG activity. In Experiment 1, twenty-three participants performed a lexical decision task (temporally flanked by supraliminal masks) while having high-density 129-channel ERP data collected. In Experiment 2, a separate group of fifteen participants underwent the same task while having fMRI data collected in a 3T scanner. Examination of the ERP data suggested that a canonical RP effect was produced. The strongest corresponding effect in the fMRI data was in the vicinity of the pITG. In addition, results indicated stimulus-dependent functional connectivity between pITG and a region of the posterior FG near the Visual Word Form Area (VWFA) during word compared to nonword processing. These results provide convergent spatiotemporal evidence that the pITG contributes to early lexical access through interaction with the VWFA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2307-2321
Number of pages15
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NASA Grant SA23-06-015 , National Institutes of Health grants DC007315 and AG033036 , and by the National Science Foundation grant BCS-0814302 . Thanks to Sara Cilles and Stephanie Schemke for their invaluable assistance.


  • ERP
  • FMRI
  • Language
  • Lexical decision
  • Recognition Potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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