Right is not always wrong: DTI and fMRI evidence for the reliance of reading comprehension on language-comprehension networks in the right hemisphere

Brain Imaging Behav. 2015 Mar;9(1):19-31. doi: 10.1007/s11682-014-9341-9.


The Simple View theory suggests that reading comprehension relies on automatic recognition of words combined with language comprehension. The goal of the current study was to examine the structural and functional connectivity in networks supporting reading comprehension and their relationship with language comprehension within 7-9 year old children using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and fMRI during a Sentence Picture Matching task. Fractional Anisotropy (FA) values in the left and right Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus (ILF) and Superior Longitudinal Fasciculus (SLF), known language-related tracts, were correlated from DTI data with scores from the Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III) Passage Comprehension sub-test. Brodmann areas most proximal to white-matter regions with significant correlation to Passage Comprehension scores were chosen as Regions-of-Interest (ROIs) and used as seeds in a functional connectivity analysis using the Sentence Picture Matching task. The correlation between percentile scores for the WJ-III Passage Comprehension subtest and the FA values in the right and left ILF and SLF indicated positive correlation in language-related ROIs, with greater distribution in the right hemisphere, which in turn showed strong connectivity in the fMRI data from the Sentence Picture Matching task. These results support the participation of the right hemisphere in reading comprehension and may provide physiologic support for a distinction between different types of reading comprehension deficits vs difficulties in technical reading.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebrum / physiology*
  • Child
  • Comprehension*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Tests
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Reading*