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See detailDissociated face- and word-selective intracerebral responses in the human ventral occipito-temporal cortex
Hagen, Simen; Lochy, Aliette UL; Jacques, Corentin et al

in Journal of Vision (2020, October), 20(11),

The extent to which faces and written words share neural circuitry in the human brain is actively debated. We provide an original contribution to this debate by comparing face-selective and word-selective ... [more ▼]

The extent to which faces and written words share neural circuitry in the human brain is actively debated. We provide an original contribution to this debate by comparing face-selective and word-selective responses in a large group of patients (N=37) implanted with intracerebral electrodes in the ventral occipito-temporal cortex (VOTC). Both face-selective (i.e., significantly different responses to faces vs. nonface objects) and word-selective (i.e., significantly different responses to words vs. pseudofonts) neural activity is isolated through frequency-tagging (Jonas et al., 2016; Lochy et al., 2018, respectively). Critically, this approach allows disentangling category-selective neural responses from general visual responses. Overall, we find that 69.26% of significant contacts show either face- or word-selectivity, with the expected right and left hemispheric dominance, respectively (Fig.1A,B). Moreover, the center of mass for word-contacts is more lateral than for face-contacts, with no differences in postero-anterior axis (Fig.2A). Spatial dissociations are also found within core regions of face and word processing, with a medio-lateral dissociation in the fusiform gyrus (FG) and surrounding sulci (FG+sulci;Fig.2B), while a postero-anterior dissociation is found in the inferior occipital gyrus (IOG;Fig.2C). Despite their spatial dissociations in the FG+sulci and IOG, most overlap in category-selective responses is found in these regions (Fig.1C). Critically, in the overlap-contacts, across the whole brain or specifically in the FG+sulci, between-category (word-face) selective-amplitudes showed no-to-weak correlations, despite strong correlations for within-category (face-face, word-word) selective-amplitudes (Fig.3A), and a strong correlation in non-selective general-amplitudes to words-faces. Moreover, substantial overlap and no-to-weak correlations were observed between faces and a control category (houses) known to be functionally dissociated from faces. Overall, we conclude that category-selectivity for faces and words is largely dissociated in the human VOTC, with a limited spatial overlap likely due to the distant recording of dissociated populations of neurons rather than to shared category-selective representations. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact of learning to read in a mixed approach on neural tuning to words in beginning readers
van de Walle de Ghelcke, Alice; Rossion, Bruno; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2020), 10

The impact of learning to read in a mixed approach using both the global and phonics teaching methods on the emergence of left hemisphere neural specialization for word recognition is yet unknown in ... [more ▼]

The impact of learning to read in a mixed approach using both the global and phonics teaching methods on the emergence of left hemisphere neural specialization for word recognition is yet unknown in children. Taking advantage of a natural school context with such a mixed approach, we tested 42 first graders behaviorally and with Fast Periodic Visual Stimulation using electroencephalographic recordings (FPVS-EEG) to measure selective neural responses to letter strings. Letter strings were inserted periodically (1/5) in pseudofonts in 40 s sequences displayed at 6 Hz and were either words globally taught at school, that could therefore be processed by visual whole-word form recognition (global method), or control words/pseudowords eliciting graphemephoneme (GP) mappings (phonics method). Results show that selective responses (F/5, 1.2 Hz) were left lateralized for control stimuli that triggered GP mappings but bilateral for globally taught words. It implies that neural mechanisms recruited during visual word processing are influenced by the nature of the mapping between written and spoken word forms. GP mappings induce left hemisphere discrimination responses, and visual recognition of whole-word forms induce bilateral responses, probably because the right hemisphere is relatively more involved in holistic visual object recognition. Splitting the group as a function of the mastery of GP mappings into “good” and “poor” readers strongly suggests that good readers actually processed all stimuli (including global words) predominantly with their left hemisphere, while poor readers showed bilateral responses for global words. These results show that in a mixed approach of teaching to read, global method instruction may induce neural processes that differ from those specialized for reading in the left hemisphere. Furthermore, given their difficulties in automatizing GP mappings, poor readers are especially prone to rely on this alternative visual strategy. A preprint of this paper has been released on Biorxiv (van de Walle de Ghelcke et al., 2018). [less ▲]

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See detailThe Relationship Between the Benton Face Recognition Test and Electrophysiological Unfamiliar Face Individuation Response as Revealed by Fast Periodic Stimulation.
Dzhelyova, Milena; Schiltz, Christine UL; Rossion, Bruno

in Perception (2020), 49(2), 210-221

A recent approach to implicitly study face recognition skills has been the fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) coupled with electroencephalography (EEG). Its relationship with explicit behavioral ... [more ▼]

A recent approach to implicitly study face recognition skills has been the fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) coupled with electroencephalography (EEG). Its relationship with explicit behavioral measures of face individuation remains largely undocumented. We evaluated the relationship of the FPVS–EEG measure of individuation and performance at a computer version of the Benton Face Recognition Test. High-density EEG was recorded in 32 participants presented with an unfamiliar face at a rate of 6Hz (F) for 60 s. Every five faces, new identities were inserted. The resulting 1.2 Hz (F/5) EEG response and its harmonics objectively indexed rapid individuation of unfamiliar faces. The robust individuation response, observed over occipitotemporal sites, was significantly correlated with speed, but not accuracy rate of the computer version of the Benton Face Recognition Test. This effect was driven by a few individuals who were particularly slow at the behavioral test and also showed the lowest face individuation response. These results highlight the importance of considering the time taken to recognize a face, as a complementary to accuracy rate variable, providing valuable information about one’s recognition skills. Overall, these observations strengthen the diagnostic value of FPVS–EEG as an objective and rapid flag for specific difficulties at individual face recognition in the human population. [less ▲]

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See detailDevelopmental changes in neural letter-selectivity: A 1-year follow-up of beginning readers.
van de Walle de Ghelcke, Alice; Rossion, Bruno; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

in Developmental science (2020)

The developmental course of neural tuning to visual letter strings is unclear. Here we tested 39 children longitudinally, at the beginning of grade 1 (6.45 ± 0.33 years old) and 1 year after, with fast ... [more ▼]

The developmental course of neural tuning to visual letter strings is unclear. Here we tested 39 children longitudinally, at the beginning of grade 1 (6.45 ± 0.33 years old) and 1 year after, with fast periodic visual stimulation in electroencephalography to assess the evolution of selective neural responses to letter strings and their relationship with emerging reading abilities. At both grades, frequency-tagged letter strings were discriminated from pseudofont strings (i.e. letter-selectivity) over the left occipito-temporal cortex, with effects observed at the individual level in 62% of children. However, visual words were not discriminated from pseudowords (lexical access) at either grade. Following 1 year of schooling, letter-selective responses showed a specific increase in amplitude, a more complex pattern of harmonics, and were located more anteriorly over the left occipito-temporal cortex. Remarkably, at both grades, neural responses were highly significant at the individual level and correlated with individual reading scores. The amplitude increase in letter-selective responses between grades was not found for discrimination responses of familiar keyboard symbols from pseudosymbols, and was not related to a general increase in visual stimulation responses. These findings demonstrate a rapid onset of left hemispheric letter selectivity, with 1 year of reading instruction resulting in increased emerging reading abilities and a clear quantitative and qualitative evolution within left hemispheric neural circuits for reading. [less ▲]

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See detailWeaker neural responses to lexicality and word frequency in dyslexic adults: an EEG study with Fast Periodic Visual Stimulation.
Lochy, Aliette UL; Collette, Emilie; Schelstraete, Marie-Anne et al

Scientific Conference (2019, September)

Dyslexia, a persistent reading disorder, is characterized by different brain activation patterns when reading. Here, we used a Fast Periodic Visual Stimulation paradigm during EEG recordings to assess the ... [more ▼]

Dyslexia, a persistent reading disorder, is characterized by different brain activation patterns when reading. Here, we used a Fast Periodic Visual Stimulation paradigm during EEG recordings to assess the sensitivity of dyslexics to fine-grained psycholinguistic variations of letter strings: lexicality, lexical frequency, and orthographic regularity. Dyslexic and non-dyslexic students watched 60-seconds streams of stimuli presented at 10Hz, in which deviant items are inserted periodically (1/8, at 1.25Hz). Results show discrimination responses at 1.25Hz over left posterior occipito-temporal regions, reduced in dyslexics. Group differences were significant for discrimination of word lexicality and frequency, but not for word regularity. These results show that FPVS response amplitude distinguishes normal from pathological population. Since explicit reading is prohibited by the fast rate, results suggest differences of automatic and implicit word processing in dyslexics. The lack of group difference for regular/irregular words is interpreted post-hoc as reflecting the life-long drill of dyslexics to irregular words. [less ▲]

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See detailLateralization for faces in prereaders depends on the perceptual processing level: An EEG Fast Periodic Visual Stimulation study
Lochy, Aliette UL; Schiltz, Christine UL; Rossion, Bruno

Poster (2019, January)

The developmental origin of human adults’ right hemispheric lateralization to face stimuli is unclear, in particular because young infants’ right hemispheric advantage in face perception is no longer ... [more ▼]

The developmental origin of human adults’ right hemispheric lateralization to face stimuli is unclear, in particular because young infants’ right hemispheric advantage in face perception is no longer present in preschool children, before written language acquisition. Here we used fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) with scalp electrophysiology to test 52 preschool children (5 years old) at two levels of face processing (i.e., faces vs. objects, or discrimination between individual faces). While the contrast between faces and nonface objects elicits strictly bilateral occipital responses in children, discrimination of faces on the basis of identity in the same children is associated with a strong right hemispheric lateralization over the occipito-temporal cortex. Inversion of the face stimuli does not modulate right lateralization but significantly decreases the discrimination response. Furthermore, there is no relationship between right hemispheric lateralization in individual face discrimination and preschool levels of letter recognition. These observations suggest that right lateralization for face perception is essentially driven by the necessity to process faces at the level of identity. Overall, they also challenge the view that the adult right hemispheric lateralization for face perception emerges late and slowly during childhood due to increased competition with left lateralized posterior network for reading. [less ▲]

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See detailThe right hemispheric dominance for faces in preschoolers depends on the visual discrimination level.
Lochy, Aliette UL; Schiltz, Christine UL; Rossion, Bruno

in Developmental Science (2019)

The developmental origin of human adults’ right hemispheric dominance in response to face stimuli remains unclear, in particular because young infants’ right hemispheric advantage in face-selective ... [more ▼]

The developmental origin of human adults’ right hemispheric dominance in response to face stimuli remains unclear, in particular because young infants’ right hemispheric advantage in face-selective response is no longer present in preschool children, before written language acquisition. Here we used fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) with scalp electroencephalography (EEG) to test 52 preschool children (5.5 years old) at two different levels of face discrimination: discrimination of faces against objects, measuring face-selectivity, or discrimination between individual faces. While the contrast between faces and nonface objects elicits strictly bilateral occipital responses in children, strengthening previous observations, discrimination of individual faces in the same children reveals a strong right hemispheric lateralization over the occipitotemporal cortex. Picture-plane inversion of the face stimuli significantly decreases the individual discrimination response, although to a much smaller extent than in older children and adults tested with the same paradigm. However, there is only a nonsignificant trend for a decrease in right hemispheric lateralization with inversion. There is no relationship between the right hemispheric lateralization in individual face discrimination and preschool levels of readings abilities. The observed difference in the right hemispheric lateralization obtained in the same population of children with two different paradigms measuring neural responses to faces indicates that the level of visual discrimination is a key factor to consider when making inferences about the development of hemispheric lateralization of face perception in the human brain. [less ▲]

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See detailThe non-linear development of the right hemispheric specialization for human face perception
Lochy, Aliette UL; de Heering, Adelaïde; Rossion, Bruno

in Neuropsychologia (2019), 126

The developmental origins of human adults’ right hemispheric specialization for face perception remain unclear. On the one hand, infant studies have shown a right hemispheric advantage for face perception ... [more ▼]

The developmental origins of human adults’ right hemispheric specialization for face perception remain unclear. On the one hand, infant studies have shown a right hemispheric advantage for face perception. On the other hand, it has been proposed that the adult right hemispheric lateralization for face perception slowly emerges during childhood due to reading acquisition, which increases left lateralized posterior responses to competing written material (e.g., visual letters and words). Since methodological approaches used in infant and children typically differ when their face capabilities are explored, resolving this issue has been difficult. Here we tested 5- year-old preschoolers varying in their level of visual letter knowledge with the same fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) paradigm leading to strongly right lateralized electrophysiological occipito-temporal face-selective responses in 4- to 6-month-old infants (de Heering and Rossion, 2015). Children's face-selective response was quantitatively larger and differed in scalp topography from infants’, but did not differ across hemispheres. There was a small positive correlation between preschoolers’ letter knowledge and a non-normalized index of right hemispheric specialization for faces. These observations show that previous discrepant results in the literature reflect a genuine nonlinear development of the neural processes underlying face perception and are not merely due to methodological differences across age groups. We discuss several factors that could contribute to the adult right hemispheric lateralization for faces, such as myelination of the corpus callosum and reading acquisition. Our findings point to the value of FPVS coupled with electroencephalography to assess specialized face perception processes throughout development with the same methodology [less ▲]

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See detailDoes Extensive Training at Individuating Novel Objects in Adulthood Lead to Visual Expertise? The Role of Facelikeness.
Lochy, Aliette UL; Zimmermann, Friederike G. S.; Laguesse, Renaud et al

in Journal of cognitive neuroscience (2018), 30(4), 449-467

Human adults have a rich visual experience thanks to seeing human faces since birth, which may contribute to the acquisition of perceptual processes that rapidly and automatically individuate faces ... [more ▼]

Human adults have a rich visual experience thanks to seeing human faces since birth, which may contribute to the acquisition of perceptual processes that rapidly and automatically individuate faces. According to a generic visual expertise hypothesis, extensive experience with nonface objects may similarly lead to efficient processing of objects at the individual level. However, whether extensive training in adulthood leads to visual expertise remains debated. One key issue is the extent to which the acquisition of visual expertise depends on the resemblance of objects to faces in terms of the spatial configuration of parts. We therefore trained naive human adults to individuate a large set of novel parametric multipart objects. Critically, one group of participants trained with the objects in a "facelike" stimulus orientation, whereas a second group trained with the same objects but with the objects rotated 180 degrees in the picture plane into a "nonfacelike" orientation. We used a fast periodic visual stimulation EEG protocol to objectively quantify participants' ability to discriminate untrained exemplars before and after training. EEG responses associated with the frequency of identity change in a fast stimulation sequence, which reflects rapid and automatic perceptual processes, were observed over lateral occipital sites for both groups before training. There was a significant, albeit small, increase in these responses after training but only for the facelike group and only to facelike stimuli. Our findings indicate that perceived facelikeness plays a role in visual expertise and highlight how the adult perceptual system exploits familiar spatial configurations when learning new object categories. [less ▲]

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See detailSelective visual representation of letters and words in the left ventral occipito-temporal cortex with intracerebral recordings.
Lochy, Aliette UL; Jacques, Corentin; Maillard, Louis et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2018), 115(32), 7595-7604

We report a comprehensive cartography of selective responses to visual letters and words in the human ventral occipito-temporal cortex (VOTC) with direct neural recordings, clarifying key aspects of the ... [more ▼]

We report a comprehensive cartography of selective responses to visual letters and words in the human ventral occipito-temporal cortex (VOTC) with direct neural recordings, clarifying key aspects of the neural basis of reading. Intracerebral recordings were performed in a large group of patients (n = 37) presented with visual words inserted periodically in rapid sequences of pseudofonts, nonwords, or pseudowords, enabling classification of responses at three levels of word processing: letter, prelexical, and lexical. While letter-selective responses are found in much of the VOTC, with a higher proportion in left posterior regions, prelexical/lexical responses are confined to the middle and anterior sections of the left fusiform gyrus. This region overlaps with and extends more anteriorly than the visual word form area typically identified with functional magnetic resonance imaging. In this region, prelexical responses provide evidence for populations of neurons sensitive to the statistical regularity of letter combinations independently of lexical responses to familiar words. Despite extensive sampling in anterior ventral temporal regions, there is no hierarchical organization between prelexical and lexical responses in the left fusiform gyrus. Overall, distinct word processing levels depend on neural populations that are spatially intermingled rather than organized according to a strict postero-anterior hierarchy in the left VOTC. [less ▲]

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See detailA rapid, objective and implicit measure of visual quantity discrimination
Guillaume, Mathieu UL; Mejias Vanslype, Sandrine UL; Rossion, Bruno et al

in Neuropsychologia (2018), 111

There is evidence that accurate and rapid judgments of visual quantities form an essential component of human mathematical ability. However, explicit behavioural discrimination measures of visual ... [more ▼]

There is evidence that accurate and rapid judgments of visual quantities form an essential component of human mathematical ability. However, explicit behavioural discrimination measures of visual quantities are readily contaminated both by variations in low-level physical parameters and higher order cognitive factors, while implicit measures often lack objectivity and sensitivity at the individual participant level. Here, with electrophysiological frequency tagging, we show discrimination differences between briefly presented visual quantities as low as a ratio of 1.4 (i.e., 14 vs. 10 elements). From this threshold, the neural discrimination response increases with parametrically increasing differences in ratio between visual quantities. Inter-individual variability in magnitude of the EEG response at this population threshold ratio predicts behavioural performance at an independent number comparison task. Overall, these findings indicate that visual quantities are perceptually discriminated automatically and rapidly (i.e., at a glance) within the occipital cortex. Given its high sensitivity, this paradigm could provide an implicit diagnostic neural marker of this process suitable for a wide range of fundamental and clinical applications. [less ▲]

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See detailAre parity and magnitude status of Arabic digits processed automatically? An EEG study using the fast periodic visual stimulation
Poncin, Alexandre UL; Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

Presentation (2017, February 22)

Many studies have shown that humans can easily extract numerical characteristics of single digits such as numerical magnitude and parity status. We investigated whether spontaneous processing of magnitude ... [more ▼]

Many studies have shown that humans can easily extract numerical characteristics of single digits such as numerical magnitude and parity status. We investigated whether spontaneous processing of magnitude or parity status can be observed when participants are passively presented with sequences of briefly displayed Arabic digits. We assessed the parity processing by presenting seven odd digit numbers followed by one even digit (and reverse) with a sinusoidal contrast modulation at a frequency of 10HZ in one-minute sequences. The same paradigm and frequencies were used to investigate magnitude processing (i.e. seven digits smaller than five followed by one digit larger than five; and reverse) and control condition (i.e. sequence of 1-4-6-9 followed by 2-3-7 or 8). We observed a strong EEG activation on right parietal electrodes and a weaker activation on left parietal electrodes in all conditions. Left and right activations were stronger in the parity than in the other conditions, reflecting an automatic retrieval of parity information conveyed by the Arabic digits. The weaker activation during the magnitude task could reflect a more complicated access of the information corresponding to magnitude status. Right activations during the control task could be due to the fact that subjects can quickly learn to categorize numbers arbitrarily. These neuronal activation patterns are consistent with the neuro-imaging literature describing the localization of basic numerical processing. Our findings indicate that magnitude and parity status are extracted automatically from Arabic digits, even when numerical stimuli are presented without instructions at a high presentation rate. [less ▲]

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See detailMental arithmetic in the bilingual brain: Language matters.
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Dricot, Laurence; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

in Neuropsychologia (2017), 101

How do bilinguals solve arithmetic problems in each of their languages? We investigated this question by exploring the neural substrates of mental arithmetic in bilinguals. Critically, our population was ... [more ▼]

How do bilinguals solve arithmetic problems in each of their languages? We investigated this question by exploring the neural substrates of mental arithmetic in bilinguals. Critically, our population was composed of a homogeneous group of adults who were fluent in both of their instruction languages (i.e., German as first instruction language and French as second instruction language). Twenty bilinguals were scanned with fMRI (3T) while performing mental arithmetic. Both simple and complex problems were presented to disentangle memory retrieval occuring in very simple problems from arithmetic computation occuring in more complex problems. In simple additions, the left temporal regions were more activated in German than in French, whereas no brain regions showed additional activity in the reverse constrast. Complex additions revealed the reverse pattern, since the activations of regions for French surpassed the same computations in German and the extra regions were located predominantly in occipital regions. Our results thus highlight that highly proficient bilinguals rely on differential activation patterns to solve simple and complex additions in each of their languages, suggesting different solving procedures. The present study confirms the critical role of language in arithmetic problem solving and provides novel insights into how highly proficient bilinguals solve arithmetic problems. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessing the cerebral correlates of non-symbolic number processing with fast periodic visual stimulation
Guillaume, Mathieu UL; Mejias, Sandrine; Rossion, Bruno et al

Poster (2017)

Some authors recently challenged the claim that numerical processes specifically handle non-symbolic magnitudes and they alternately suggested that general visual and/or control executive processes could ... [more ▼]

Some authors recently challenged the claim that numerical processes specifically handle non-symbolic magnitudes and they alternately suggested that general visual and/or control executive processes could explain performance in number comparison tasks. To further investigate this issue, we set up an EEG paradigm in which we recorded neural responses to the passive viewing of different arrays of basic visual forms. The stimuli sequence followed a fast and sinusoidal contrast modulation at the frequency of 10Hz (ten items per second). Visual properties of elements randomly changed from item to item, but their number was manipulated: in a control condition, arrays always contained the same number, and in the experimental conditions, the number periodically changed (each eight iteration, at 1.25Hz). We varied the numerical ratio between the frequent and the rare number throughout the experimental conditions. We recorded significant responses on occipital and parietal electrodes to the oddball frequency and its harmonics during our experimental conditions. Crucially, the strength of the signal was proportionally larger when the numerical ratio was larger. The results suggest that implicit and passive viewing of quick sequence of arrays was sufficient to automatically elicit neural synchronisation to numerical magnitudes without any explicit involvement of higher general cognitive processes. [less ▲]

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See detailThe non-linear development of the right hemispheric specialization for human face perception.
Lochy, Aliette UL; de Heering, Adelaide; Rossion, Bruno

in Neuropsychologia (2017)

The developmental origins of human adults' right hemispheric specialization for face perception remain unclear. On the one hand, infant studies have shown a right hemispheric advantage for face perception ... [more ▼]

The developmental origins of human adults' right hemispheric specialization for face perception remain unclear. On the one hand, infant studies have shown a right hemispheric advantage for face perception. On the other hand, it has been proposed that the adult right hemispheric lateralization for face perception slowly emerges during childhood due to reading acquisition, which increases left lateralized posterior responses to competing written material (e.g., visual letters and words). Since methodological approaches used in infant and children typically differ when their face capabilities are explored, resolving this issue has been difficult. Here we tested 5-year-old preschoolers varying in their level of visual letter knowledge with the same fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) paradigm leading to strongly right lateralized electrophysiological occipito-temporal face-selective responses in 4- to 6-month-old infants (de Heering and Rossion, 2015). Children's face-selective response was quantitatively larger and differed in scalp topography from infants', but did not differ across hemispheres. There was a small positive correlation between preschoolers' letter knowledge and a non-normalized index of right hemispheric specialization for faces. These observations show that previous discrepant results in the literature reflect a genuine nonlinear development of the neural processes underlying face perception and are not merely due to methodological differences across age groups. We discuss several factors that could contribute to the adult right hemispheric lateralization for faces, such as myelination of the corpus callosum and reading acquisition. Our findings point to the value of FPVS coupled with electroencephalography to assess specialized face perception processes throughout development with the same methodology. [less ▲]

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See detailLearning to read and hemispheric specialization for faces
Lochy, Aliette UL; Rossion, Bruno

Scientific Conference (2017)

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See detailLeft cortical specialization for visual letter strings predicts rudimentary knowledge of letter-sound association in preschoolers.
Lochy, Aliette UL; Van Reybroeck, Marie; Rossion, Bruno

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2016), 113(30), 8544-9

Reading, one of the most important cultural inventions of human society, critically depends on posterior brain areas of the left hemisphere in proficient adult readers. In children, this left hemispheric ... [more ▼]

Reading, one of the most important cultural inventions of human society, critically depends on posterior brain areas of the left hemisphere in proficient adult readers. In children, this left hemispheric cortical specialization for letter strings is typically detected only after approximately 1 y of formal schooling and reading acquisition. Here, we recorded scalp electrophysiological (EEG) brain responses in 5-y-old (n = 40) prereaders presented with letter strings appearing every five items in rapid streams of pseudofonts (6 items per second). Within 2 min of recording only, letter strings evoked a robust specific response over the left occipito-temporal cortex at the predefined frequency of 1.2 Hz (i.e., 6 Hz/5). Interindividual differences in the amplitude of this electrophysiological response are significantly related to letter knowledge, a preschool predictor of later reading ability. These results point to the high potential of this rapidly collected behavior-free measure to assess reading ability in developmental populations. These findings were replicated in a second experiment (n = 26 preschool children), where familiar symbols and line drawings of objects evoked right-lateralized and bilaterally specific responses, respectively, showing the specificity of the early left hemispheric dominance for letter strings. Collectively, these findings indicate that limited knowledge of print in young children, before formal education, is sufficient to develop specialized left lateralized neuronal circuits, thereby pointing to an early onset and rapid impact of left hemispheric reentrant sound mapping on posterior cortical development. [less ▲]

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See detailNeural correlates of arithmetic problem solving in bilinguals: an fMRI study.
Van Rinsveld, Amandine UL; Dricot, Laurence; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

Poster (2015, May)

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See detailArithmetic in the bilingual brain: an fMRI study
Van Rinsveld, Amandine UL; Dricot, Laurence; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

Scientific Conference (2015, March)

Using fMRI we observed that solving addition and multiplication problems induced activation in several fronto-parietal regions in both German-French bilingual and French monolingual adults. However ... [more ▼]

Using fMRI we observed that solving addition and multiplication problems induced activation in several fronto-parietal regions in both German-French bilingual and French monolingual adults. However, during complex addition frontal regions showed systematically higher activation levels in bilinguals than monolinguals, both when bilinguals computed in German (math-acquisition language) and in French. [less ▲]

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See detailA robust index of lexical representation in the left occipito-temporal cortex as evidenced by EEG responses to fast periodic visual stimulation.
Lochy, Aliette UL; Van Belle, Goedele; Rossion, Bruno

in Neuropsychologia (2015), 66

Despite decades of research on reading, including the relatively recent contributions of neuroimaging and electrophysiology, identifying selective representations of whole visual words (in contrast to ... [more ▼]

Despite decades of research on reading, including the relatively recent contributions of neuroimaging and electrophysiology, identifying selective representations of whole visual words (in contrast to pseudowords) in the human brain remains challenging, in particular without an explicit linguistic task. Here we measured discrimination responses to written words by means of electroencephalography (EEG) during fast periodic visual stimulation. Sequences of pseudofonts, nonwords, or pseudowords were presented through sinusoidal contrast modulation at a periodic 10 Hz frequency rate (F), in which words were interspersed at regular intervals of every fifth item (i.e., F/5, 2 Hz). Participants monitored a central cross color change and had no linguistic task to perform. Within only 3 min of stimulation, a robust discrimination response for words at 2 Hz (and its harmonics, i.e., 4 and 6 Hz) was observed in all conditions, located predominantly over the left occipito-temporal cortex. The magnitude of the response was largest for words embedded in pseudofonts, and larger in nonwords than in pseudowords, showing that list context effects classically reported in behavioral lexical decision tasks are due to visual discrimination rather than decisional processes. Remarkably, the oddball response was significant even for the critical words/pseudowords discrimination condition in every individual participant. A second experiment replicated this words/pseudowords discrimination, and showed that this effect is not accounted for by a higher bigram frequency of words than pseudowords. Without any explicit task, our results highlight the potential of an EEG fast periodic visual stimulation approach for understanding the representation of written language. Its development in the scientific community might be valuable to rapidly and objectively measure sensitivity to word processing in different human populations, including neuropsychological patients with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. [less ▲]

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