Effect of practice on reading performance and brain function

Deborah L. Kerr, Debra A. Gusnard, Abraham Z. Snyder, Marcus E. Raichle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Word reading is considered a highly over-learned task. If true, then practice should have no effect on its performance or associated functional brain anatomy. We tested this hypothesis in two experiments of skilled readers repeatedly reading the same list of nouns (1 session, 10 runs). In Experiment 1 we used fMRI to monitor the changes in brain activity. In Experiment 2 we recorded voice onset latency reaction times. Neither experiment showed changes as an effect of practice. In a third experiment, Experiment 3, we examined the behavioral effect of prolonged practice on the word association task of verb generation for which reading nouns aloud has served as a control. Both short (1 session, 10 runs) and long term (15 days, 150 runs) effects were noted providing a new perspective on functional anatomical differences between word reading and verb generation previously noted after short periods of practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-610
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 22 2004


  • Normal adults
  • Verb generation
  • fMRI


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