PET was used to study the functional anatomy of reading in the intact brain of subjects examined at the Hammersmith Hospital, London, and other centers. The type of reading task and the exposure duration of the word stimuli were variables that influenced the patterns of brain activity. Three tasks were applied as follows: reading aloud, reading silently, and distinguishing words and pseudowords in a lexical decision task. Reading aloud and reading silently produced activity in the left posterior temporal lobe. Lexical decision involved the left inferior and middle frontal cortices and the supplementary motor area. Brain activity was greater for short exposure durations than for long durations. [1]

COMMENT. Small variations in experimental design may influence brain activity as measured by PET, and the association of specific reading tasks with discrete anatomical areas must be interpreted with caution. The authors stress that the aim of their study was to determine reasons for inconsistencies in previous reports.