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Perceptual ExpertiseBridging Brain and Behavior$
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Isabel Gauthier, Michael Tarr, and Daniel Bub

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195309607

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309607.001.0001

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The Case for Letter Expertise

The Case for Letter Expertise

Chapter:
(p.305) 10 The Case for Letter Expertise
Source:
Perceptual Expertise
Author(s):

Karin H. James

Alan C.-N. Wong

Gael Jobard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309607.003.0011

The perception of single letters is a critical component of reading, as evidenced by deficits in letter perception in individuals with dyslexia. Thus, visual letter recognition is a type of perceptual expertise, but it differs from face-like perceptual expertise in several important ways based on different perceptual and task demands. For example, relative to faces, letters are less visually complex and are recognized at the basic rather than subordinate level. However, as with face-like perceptual expertise, our extensive experience with letters leads to behavioral effects not observed for other objects (e.g. orientation priming) and neural specificity. Letter perception and word perception each recruit selective neural substrates that are left-lateralized, perhaps because of the relationship between letters, words, and language. Letter perception can also recruit motor cortices, depending on writing experience.

Keywords:   letter perception, word perception, perceptual expertise, font tuning, vWFA, dyslexia

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