The neural correlates of strategic reading comprehension: Cognitive control and discourse comprehension

Jarrod Moss, Christian D. Schunn, Walter Schneider, Danielle McNamara, Kurt VanLehn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Neuroimaging studies of text comprehension conducted thus far have shed little light on the brain mechanisms underlying strategic learning from text. Thus, the present study was designed to answer the question of what brain areas are active during performance of complex reading strategies. Reading comprehension strategies are designed to improve a reader's comprehension of a text. For example, self-explanation is a complex reading strategy that enhances existing comprehension processes. It was hypothesized that reading strategies would involve areas of the brain that are normally involved in reading comprehension along with areas that are involved in strategic control processes because the readers are intentionally using a complex reading strategy. Subjects were asked to reread, paraphrase, and self-explain three different texts in a block design fMRI study. Activation was found in both executive control and comprehension areas, and furthermore, learning from text was associated with activation in the anterior prefrontal cortex (aPFC). The authors speculate that the aPFC may play a role in coordinating the internal and external modes of thought that are necessary for integrating new knowledge from texts with prior knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-686
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 15 2011


  • FMRI
  • Reading comprehension
  • Reading strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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