Abstract

Written texts are not just words but complex multidimensional stimuli, including aspects such as case, font, and handwriting style, for example. Neuropsychological reports suggest that left fusiform lesions can impair the reading of text for word (lexical) content, being associated with alexia, whereas right-sided lesions may impair handwriting recognition. We used fMRI adaptation in 13 healthy participants to determine if repetition–suppression occurred for words but not handwriting in the left visual word form area (VWFA) and the reverse in the right fusiform gyrus. Contrary to these expectations, we found adaptation for handwriting but not for words in both the left VWFA and the right VWFA homologue. A trend to adaptation for words but not handwriting was seen only in the left middle temporal gyrus. An analysis of anterior and posterior subdivisions of the left VWFA also failed to show any adaptation for words. We conclude that the right and the left fusiform gyri show similar patterns of adaptation for handwriting, consistent with a predominantly perceptual contribution to text processing.

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