Paz-Alonso, P. 1 , Quiñones, I. 1 , Caballero, C. 1 , Oliver, M. 1 , Suárez-Coalla, M. 2 , Cuetos, F. 2 , Duñabeitia, J. 1 & Carreiras, M. 1, 3, 4
1 Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL), Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
2 Departmento de Psicología, University of Oviedo, Spain
3 IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Spain
4 Departmento de Lengua Vasca y Comunicación, UPV/EHU, Bilbao, Spain
The relation between rapid naming and reading success has been extensively documented. Performance on the rapid-automatized-naming (RAN) task predicts reading skills and discriminates between individuals with dyslexia and normal readers. The RAN task and complex reading tasks seem to rely on similar neurocognitive processes, such as binding spoken and visual signals. In addition, similar neural structures are being recruited by RAN and reading tasks, including the inferior frontal gyrus, temporoparietal cortex, and the ventral visual stream. Nevertheless, to date, no studies have examined age-related changes in the neural correlates supporting rapid naming in typically developing readers and individuals with dyslexia. Moreover, limited evidence exists on the neural differences between readers with dyslexia and typical readers of languages with shallow orthographies, like Spanish. The present study is aimed at investigating the neurodevelopmental correlates of alphanumeric and non-alphanumeric components of the RAN task in typical and atypical readers. We are currently collecting functional MRI data from a total of 54 children and young adults (to date, N = 38) while they are overtly naming blocks of numbers, letters, objects, colors and control conditions tailored to each participant?s naming speed. Groups of readers are matched on age, gender and IQ. Consistently with prior findings, our data show associations between RAN performance and reading abilities. Importantly, preliminary fMRI data indicate that: 1) the RAN recruits a network of neural structures also involved in more complex reading tasks; 2) compared to typical readers, atypical readers engage more extensive right-lateralized regions, possibly suggesting compensatory mechanisms or effortful processing; and, 3) typically developing readers show a more sustained activity in regions within the reading network relative to readers with dyslexia, indicating that poor readers exhibit a higher difficulty sustaining processes needed for retrieval. We expect that we will also observe differences in coupling strength among these regions as a function of age and reading groups.