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Press release on Science Advances paper

Learning to read boosts the visual brain How does learning to read change our brain? Does reading take up brain space dedicated to seeing objects such as faces, tools or houses? In a functional brain imaging study reported in Science Advances, a research team led by the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics compared literate and illiterate adults in India. Reading recycles a brain region that is already sensitive to evolutionarily older visual categories, enhancing rather than destroying sensitivity to other…

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Our new paper in Science Advances on how illiterates’ brains change when they learn to read

Abstract: Learning to read is associated with the appearance of an orthographically sensitive brain region known as the visual word form area. It has been claimed that development of this area proceeds by impinging upon territory otherwise available for the processing of culturally relevant stimuli such as faces and houses. In a large-scale functional magnetic resonance imaging study of a group of individuals of varying degrees of literacy (from completely illiterate to highly literate), we examined cortical responses to orthographic…

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HOE SPRAAKHERKENNING JUIST NADELIG KAN ZIJN VOOR MENSEN MET LEESPROBLEMEN (BNR Dutch radio)

Je zou denken dat spraakherkenning uitermate geschikt is om analfabeten en mensen met dyslexie te helpen. Je kunt immers van alles laten voorlezen. Maar het zelf lezen van teksten heeft een belangrijk voordeel dat je niet niet uit audio kunt halen. Het uitbreiden van je vocabulaire en het begrijpen van complexer taalgebruik: dat kun je ook met een podcast voor elkaar krijgen, maar het voorspellen van tekst, dat lukt daarmee niet. Een tekst is visueel, je ziet het volgende woord…

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Six challenges for embodiment research (in press, Current Directions in Psychological Science)

Abstract 20 years after Barsalou's seminal perceptual symbols paper (Barsalou, 1999), embodied cognition, the notion that cognition involves simulations of sensory, motor, or affective states, has moved in status from an outlandish proposal advanced by a fringe movement in psychology to a mainstream position adopted by large numbers of researchers in the psychological and cognitive (neuro)sciences. While it has generated highly productive work in the cognitive sciences as a whole, it had a particularly strong impact on research into language…

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New paper by Nuthmann et al. (PLOS One): Extrafoveal attentional capture by object semantics

Abstract: There is ongoing debate on whether object meaning can be processed outside foveal vision, making semantics available for attentional guidance. Much of the debate has centred on whether objects that do not fit within an overall scene draw attention, in complex displays that are often difficult to control. Here, we revisited the question by reanalysing data from three experiments that used displays consisting of standalone objects from a carefully controlled stimulus set. Observers searched for a target object, as…

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Press release on TICS paper

Speech recognition technology is not a solution for poor readers Could artificial intelligence be a solution for people who cannot read well (functional illiterates) or cannot read at all (complete illiterates)? According to psycholinguists, speech technology should never replace learning how to read. In an opinion article, Falk Huettig from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and Radboud University in Nijmegen and Martin Pickering from the University of Edinburgh argue that literacy leads to a better understanding of speech because…

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Opinion paper: Literacy advantages beyond reading: Prediction of spoken language (in press in Trends in Cognitive Sciences)

Huettig, F., & Pickering, M. (in press). Literacy advantages beyond reading: Prediction of spoken language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Abstract: Literacy has many obvious benefits—it exposes the reader to a wealth of new information and enhances syntactic knowledge. However, we argue that literacy has an additional, often overlooked, benefit: it enhances people’s ability to predict spoken language thereby aiding comprehension. Readers are under pressure to process information more quickly than listeners, and reading provides excellent conditions, in particular a stable environment, for training…

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