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The Literate Brain


The invention of reading and writing or music notation is, on an evolutionary scale, just a recent spark. For homo sapiens the literate mind represents a tiny fraction of human existence. Even today more than one-fifth of adults are unable to read the language they speak. However, almost everything we know about the human brain and mind has been learnt from examining the literate brain. For script literacy to develop the ability to process complex orthographic patterns must connect with existing language processing systems, for music literacy the ability to process complex music notation must connect with existing music processing systems. We examine this process, how a pre-literate mind/brain becomes literate, and how variation in script, language (or music), or in the pre-literate brain itself, may affect this process.