Correspondence between cognitive and neural representations for phonology, orthography, and semantics in supramarginal compared to angular gyrus

William W. Graves, Jeremy Purcell, David Rothlein, Donald J. Bolger, Miriam Rosenberg-Lee, Ryan Staples

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The angular and supramarginal gyri (AG and SMG) together constitute the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) and have been associated with cognitive functions that support reading. How those functions are distributed across the AG and SMG is a matter of debate, the resolution of which is hampered by inconsistencies across stereotactic atlases provided by the major brain image analysis software packages. Schematic results from automated meta-analyses suggest primarily semantic (word meaning) processing in the left AG, with more spatial overlap among phonological (auditory word form), orthographic (visual word form), and semantic processing in the left SMG. To systematically test for correspondence between patterns of neural activation and phonological, orthographic, and semantic representations, we re-analyze a functional magnetic resonance imaging data set of participants reading aloud 465 words. Using representational similarity analysis, we test the hypothesis that within cytoarchitecture-defined subregions of the IPL, phonological representations are primarily associated with the SMG, while semantic representations are primarily associated with the AG. To the extent that orthographic representations can be de-correlated from phonological representations, they will be associated with cortex peripheral to the IPL, such as the intraparietal sulcus. Results largely confirmed these hypotheses, with some nuanced exceptions, which we discuss in terms of neurally inspired computational cognitive models of reading that learn mappings among distributed representations for orthography, phonology, and semantics. De-correlating constituent representations making up complex cognitive processes, such as reading, by careful selection of stimuli, representational formats, and analysis techniques, are promising approaches for bringing additional clarity to brain structure–function relationships.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)255-271
Number of pages17
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Histology


  • Angular gyrus
  • Orthography
  • Phonology
  • Reading
  • Semantics
  • Supramarginal gyrus


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