This present study identified an optimal model representing the relationship between orthography and phonology in Chinese handwritten production using dynamic causal modeling, and further explored how this model was modulated by word frequency and syllable frequency. Each model contained five volumes of interest in the left hemisphere (inferior frontal gyrus [IFG], middle frontal gyrus [MFG], angular gyrus [AG], supramarginal gyrus, and superior frontal gyrus), with the IFG as the driven input area. Results showed the superiority of a model in which both the MFG and the AG connected with the IFG, supporting the orthography autonomy hypothesis. Word frequency modulated the AG → superior frontal gyrus connection (information flow from the orthographic lexicon to the orthographic buffer), and syllable frequency affected the IFG → MFG connection (information transmission from the semantic system to the phonological lexicon). This study thus provides new insights into the connectivity architecture of neural substrates involved in writing.

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