Abstract: Reading words aloud is a foundational aspect of the acquisition of literacy. The rapid rate at which multiple distributed neural substrates are engaged in this process can only be probed via techniques with high spatiotemporal resolution. We used direct intracranial recordings in a large cohort to create a holistic yet fine-grained map of word processing, enabling us to derive the spatiotemporal neural codes of multiple word attributes critical to reading: lexicality, word frequency and orthographic neighborhood. We found that lexicality is encoded by early activity in mid-fusiform (mFus) cortex and precentral sulcus. Word frequency is also first represented in mFus followed by later engagement of the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and inferior parietal sulcus (IPS), and orthographic neighborhood is encoded solely in the IPS. A lexicality decoder revealed high weightings for electrodes in the mFus, IPS, anterior IFG and the pre-central sulcus. These results elaborate the neural codes underpinning extant dual-route models of reading, with parallel processing via the lexical route, progressing from mFus to IFG, and the sub-lexical route, progressing from IPS to anterior IFG.
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