Identifying functional reorganization of spelling networks: An individual peak probability comparison approach

Jeremy J. Purcell, Brenda Rapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Previous research has shown that damage to the neural substrates of orthographic processing can lead to functional reorganization during reading (Tsapkini et al., 2011); in this research we ask if the same is true for spelling. To examine the functional reorganization of spelling networks we present a novel three-stage Individual Peak Probability Comparison (IPPC) analysis approach for comparing the activation patterns obtained during fMRI of spelling in a single brain-damaged individual with dysgraphia to those obtained in a set of non-impaired control participants. The first analysis stage characterizes the convergence in activations across non-impaired control participants by applying a technique typically used for characterizing activations across studies: Activation Likelihood Estimate (ALE) (Turkeltaub et al., 2002). This method was used to identify locations that have a high likelihood of yielding activation peaks in the non-impaired participants. The second stage provides a characterization of the degree to which the brain-damaged individual's activations correspond to the group pattern identified in Stage 1. This involves performing a Mahalanobis distance statistics analysis (Tsapkini et al., 2011) that compares each of a control group's peak activation locations to the nearest peak generated by the brain-damaged individual. The third stage evaluates the extent to which the brain-damaged individual's peaks are atypical relative to the range of individual variation among the control participants. This IPPC analysis allows for a quantifiable, statistically sound method for comparing an individual's activation pattern to the patterns observed in a control group and, thus, provides a valuable tool for identifying functional reorganization in a brain-damaged individual with impaired spelling. Furthermore, this approach can be applied more generally to compare any individual's activation pattern with that of a set of other individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 964
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberDEC
StatePublished - 2013


  • ALE
  • Dysgraphia
  • FMRI
  • IPPC
  • Mahalanobis
  • Orthography
  • Spelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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