The ventral anterior temporal lobe has a necessary role in exception word reading

T. Ueno, Lotte Meteyard, Paul Hoffman, Kou Murayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An influential account of reading holds that words with exceptional spelling-to-sound correspondences (e.g., PINT) are read via activation of their lexical-semantic representations, supported by the anterior temporal lobe (ATL). This account has been inconclusive because it is based on neuropsychological evidence, in which lesion-deficit relationships are difficult to localize precisely, and functional neuroimaging data, which is spatially precise but cannot demonstrate whether the ATL activity is necessary for exception word reading. To address these issues, we used a technique with good spatial specificity - repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) - to demonstrate a necessary role of ATL in exception word reading. Following rTMS to left ventral ATL, healthy Japanese adults made more regularization errors in reading Japanese exception words. We successfully simulated these results in a computational model in which exception word reading was underpinned by semantic activations. The ATL is critically and selectively involved in reading exception words.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbhy131
Pages (from-to)3035-3045
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number6
Early online date6 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jun 2018


  • anterior temporal lobe
  • computational model
  • reading
  • surface dyslexia
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation


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