Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Christine Brennan

Second Advisor

Pui Fan Kang

Third Advisor

Anu Sharma

Abstract

Phonological and reading skill are highly intertwined with increased skill in one improving one in the other. Understanding how phonological information is represented in the auditory cortex (i.e., left superior temporal gyrus) will delineate underlying neurological differences between children with good versus poor reading abilities. The purpose of this study was to develop an imaging protocol that would result in high quality data, i.e., data with good accuracy and minimal movement in the scanner. A future study aims to examine the interactions between phonological and reading skill with the organization of small and large grain phonological processing in the superior temporal gyrus; therefore, the current study compares a group of children who completed a phonological grain size matching task outside the scanner to a single participant who completed the same task inside the scanner. All participants matched small and large grain targets within real and pseudo words (“sh” /“shoe” and “rill” / “thrill”). This study resulted in a clear protocol to improve the quality of data collected, both behavioral task data as well as fMRI imaging data. The results will be utilized as a study protocol going forward as additional children are scanned on this task.

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