Brain activation and functional connectivity during Chinese writing: An fMRI study

Yang Yang, Zhentao Zuo (Corresponding Author), Fred Tam (Corresponding Author), Simon J. Graham (Corresponding Author), Ran Tao (Corresponding Author), Nizhuan Wang (Corresponding Author), Hong Yan Bi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


How the brain processes writing in Chinese is largely unknown. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with kinematic recording, this study examined the brain activation and functional connectivity associated with writing to dictation of Chinese characters, contrasted with drawing circles, in 33 healthy adults. It was found that writing Chinese characters recruited activation in the bilateral precentral gyrus, superior/medial frontal gyrus, fusiform gyrus, cerebellum and the left precuneus that were associated with the central and peripheral processes of writing. Functional connectivity related to Chinese writing was observed between the left precuneus and both the left pre/postcentral gyrus and the bilateral cerebellum that likely supports
motor processing, whereas functional connectivity observed between the right fusiform gyrus and both the bilateral inferior/middle occipital gyrus and the right middle frontal gyrus likely supports orthographic processing. Moreover, the functional connectivity between the left inferior frontal gyrus and left superior frontal gyrus reflected the interaction between linguistic and
motor processes, supporting the interactive hypothesis concerning the relationship between central and peripheral processes of writing. These findings illustrate the neural mechanisms of Chinese writing, extending our knowledge of the cognitive processing required for this form of human communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-211
JournalJournal of Neurolinguistics
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese writing fMRI Activation Functional connectivity


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