A brain region that helps us understand written language has been identified by scientists from Johns Hopkins University in the USA.
The region called, left fusiform gyrus, which helps in rapid understanding of the meaning of written text as well as correct word spelling.
During the study, lead researchers Dr Kyrana Tsapkini and Dr Brenda Rappsy analysed the reading comprehension and spelling abilities of a patient who had undergone surgical removal of part of his brain due to a tumour.
The patient's reading and spelling abilities had been above average prior to the surgery.
The research team tested the patient and a group of control participants using 17 experimental tasks, which evaluated their comprehension and production of written language, spoken language, as well as their processing of other visual categories such as faces and objects.
While, the patient was able to understand the meaning of spoken language as rapidly as the other participants and was similarly able to process objects and faces in a normal way, he, however, showed significant delays in understanding the meaning of written text.
He had difficulty in producing accurate spellings when writing dictated text, suggesting that these abilities required the use of the brain area, which had been removed.
According to the authors, the findings provide clear evidence that there are particular structures within this part of the brain - the left mid-fusiform gyrus - that are "specialized and necessary for normal orthographic processing".
Their findings appear in journal Cortex, published by Elsevier.