Brain circuitry expands and matures at an extraordinary rate during the ages just prior to puberty, from 7-12 years. During this time, many children develop many important cognitive and visual skills that are essential for reading. Not all children develop the ability to read, and for some children their difficulty is likely to be due to improper development within a small number of regions located in visual cortex. With the development of new brain imaging technologies, it is possible to safely measure children's brain development. This set of studies will identify the portions of the central visual pathways that are essential for reading (in adult) and also trace the normal development of these pathways (in children). These studies combine measurements of brain function and structure with psychological test of reading and mental development. The study follows the development of a group of 55 children with a wide range of reading skills. We anticipate that the range of reading skill development will be mirrored in a range of brain development rates within the portions of the brain that are essential for reading. By measuring behavior and brain development together, in each of the 55 children, we hope to understand healthy cortical development and how deviations from normal development explain reading disabilities. Public Information: Brain circuitry expands and matures at an extraordinary rate during the ages just prior to puberty. This is also the age range over which children develop many important cognitive skills such as reading. We combine neuroimaging measurements of (a) functional responses to simple stimuli, (b) anatomical development of the neural circuitry, with (c) careful behavioral assessments of reading to better understand the connection between behavior and brain development.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Central Visual Processing Study Section (CVP)
Program Officer
Steinmetz, Michael A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Stanford University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Berman, Shai; West, Kathryn L; Does, Mark D et al. (2018) Evaluating g-ratio weighted changes in the corpus callosum as a function of age and sex. Neuroimage 182:304-313
Leong, Josiah K; Pestilli, Franco; Wu, Charlene C et al. (2016) White-Matter Tract Connecting Anterior Insula to Nucleus Accumbens Correlates with Reduced Preference for Positively Skewed Gambles. Neuron 89:63-9
Wandell, Brian A; Winawer, Jonathan (2015) Computational neuroimaging and population receptive fields. Trends Cogn Sci 19:349-57
Allen, Brian; Spiegel, Daniel P; Thompson, Benjamin et al. (2015) Altered white matter in early visual pathways of humans with amblyopia. Vision Res 114:48-55
Rokem, Ariel; Yeatman, Jason D; Pestilli, Franco et al. (2015) Evaluating the accuracy of diffusion MRI models in white matter. PLoS One 10:e0123272
Ajina, Sara; Pestilli, Franco; Rokem, Ariel et al. (2015) Human blindsight is mediated by an intact geniculo-extrastriate pathway. Elife 4:
Gomez, Jesse; Pestilli, Franco; Witthoft, Nathan et al. (2015) Functionally defined white matter reveals segregated pathways in human ventral temporal cortex associated with category-specific processing. Neuron 85:216-227
Yeatman, Jason D; Wandell, Brian A; Mezer, Aviv A (2014) Lifespan maturation and degeneration of human brain white matter. Nat Commun 5:4932
Ogawa, Shumpei; Takemura, Hiromasa; Horiguchi, Hiroshi et al. (2014) White matter consequences of retinal receptor and ganglion cell damage. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 55:6976-86
Main, Keith L; Pestilli, Franco; Mezer, Aviv et al. (2014) Speed discrimination predicts word but not pseudo-word reading rate in adults and children. Brain Lang 138:27-37

Showing the most recent 10 out of 43 publications