Different patterns and development characteristics of processing written logographic characters and alphabetic words: An ALE meta-analysis



The neural systems for phonological processing of written language have been well identified now, while models based on these neural systems are different for different language systems or age groups. Although each of such models is mostly concordant across different experiments, the results are sensitive to the experiment design and intersubject variability. Activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis can quantitatively synthesize the data from multiple studies and minimize the interstudy or intersubject differences. In this study, we performed two ALE meta-analysis experiments: one was to examine the neural activation patterns of the phonological processing of two different types of written languages and the other was to examine the development characteristics of such neural activation patterns based on both alphabetic language and logographic language data. The results of our first meta-analysis experiment were consistent with the meta-analysis which was based on the studies published before 2005. And there were new findings in our second meta-analysis experiment, where both adults and children groups showed great activation in the left frontal lobe, the left superior/middle temporal gyrus, and the bilateral middle/superior occipital gyrus. However, the activation of the left middle/inferior frontal gyrus was found increase with the development, and the activation was found decrease in the following areas: the right claustrum and inferior frontal gyrus, the left inferior/medial frontal gyrus, the left middle/superior temporal gyrus, the right cerebellum, and the bilateral fusiform gyrus. It seems that adults involve more phonological areas, whereas children involve more orthographic areas and semantic areas. Hum Brain Mapp 35:2607–2618, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.