Visual word recognition: the first half second

Kristen Pammer, Peter C Hansen, Morten L Kringelbach, Ian Holliday, Gareth Barnes, Arjan Hillebrand, Krish D Singh, Piers L Cornelissen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

168 Citations (Scopus)


We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to map the spatiotemporal evolution of cortical activity for visual word recognition. We show that for five-letter words, activity in the left hemisphere (LH) fusiform gyrus expands systematically in both the posterior-anterior and medial-lateral directions over the course of the first 500 ms after stimulus presentation. Contrary to what would be expected from cognitive models and hemodynamic studies, the component of this activity that spatially coincides with the visual word form area (VWFA) is not active until around 200 ms post-stimulus, and critically, this activity is preceded by and co-active with activity in parts of the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG, BA44/6). The spread of activity in the VWFA for words does not appear in isolation but is co-active in parallel with spread of activity in anterior middle temporal gyrus (aMTG, BA 21 and 38), posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG, BA37/39), and IFG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1819-25
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Decision Making/physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral/physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetics
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term/physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual/physiology
  • Reading
  • Verbal Learning/physiology

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