Individual variation in human reading: computational and neuroimaging studies

Professor Kathy Rastle (primary)
Royal Holloway, University of London
Dr Joanne Taylor (secondary)
Language and Cognition


The past decade has seen major advances in our understanding of the neurobiology of reading. However, this understanding is based almost exclusively on performance of groups of individuals; our understanding of individual variation is poor. This project will develop a new theory of individual variation in reading using sophisticated neural network models, and will test and refine this theory in a series of behavioural and fMRI studies. This project will permit new insight into why some individuals struggle to learn to read, and it will develop new methods for relating neural activation to sophisticated computational models of human cognition.


Taylor, JSH, Davis, MH, & Rastle, K. (2019). Mapping visual symbols onto spoken language along the ventral visual stream. PNAS, 116, 17723-17728.

Rastle, K. (2019). Writing systems, reading, and language: EPS mid-career prize lecture. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72, 677-692.

Seghier, M. & Price, C.J. (2018). Interpreting and utilising intersubject variability in brain function. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22, 517-530.

Taylor, JSH., Rastle, K. & Davis, M.H. (2013). Can cognitive models explain brain activation during word and pseudoword reading? A meta-analysis of 36 neuroimaging studies. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 766-91.

Harm, M.W & Seidenberg, M.S. (2004). Computing the meanings of words in reading: Cooperative division of labour between visual and phonological processes. Psychological Review, 111, 662-720.

Animal disease, health and welfare
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
Image ProcessingSimulation / Modelling